by Len Feldman
With instances of student suspension and expulsion for “willful defiance” on the rise for all students and rising even faster for students of color, State Council members heard from experts about other options for addressing behavior problems.
More than 100 State Council representatives drawn primarily from three committees — Civil Rights in Education (CRE), School Safety and School Management (SSM), and Student Support Services (SPS) — took part in a forum that spelled out the scope of the problem and steps that educators are taking to reduce the number of students suspended or expelled from school.
A panel of CTA experts, including committee chairs, counselors and classroom teachers, discussed alternative means of providing classroom discipline, including using “restorative justice.” This method holds students accountable for their behavior, teaches them to repair harm they have done, and helps instill empathy, a practice that can support good behavior and minimize destructive acts.
CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki-Semo noted that the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and the requirement to design and apply Local Control Accountability Plans will hold schools accountable for such things as student suspension and expulsion rates.
For more on this topic, see the article “Rethinking suspension” in the May 2013 Educator, archived here.
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