Monday, October 19, 2015

Districts Moving Away From Zero Tolerance, Seeking Suspension Alternatives.

The AP (10/19, Stengle) reports that the recent case of the Texas student who was arrested and suspended after his “teacher mistook his homemade clock for a possible bomb” highlights the “rigid disciplinary policies that many U.S. schools adopted in the 1990s.” Districts, including some of the biggest in the country, are moving away from such policies, “foregoing automatic suspensions, expulsions and calls to the police for one-on-one counseling and less severe forms of punishment.” The piece notes that the Administration has called for such changes, and reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently warned of racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions. Duncan is quoted saying, “This is not just about explicit, obvious bias. Indeed, sometimes, when a genuinely transparent moment of bias arises, the whole country stops and takes a break. A child holds a clock. And we see a bomb. But more often, it’s far subtler stuff.”

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