As I mentioned last week along with ending the practice of naming a valedictorian and raising the price of meals, Wake County’s School board took aim at changing its suspension policies.
By the way, Rush Limbaugh had fun with the valedictorian bit on his show last week for those who missed it. I’m sure he’d have a field day with this suspension policy change.
Here’s the excerpt from my prior article:
The board also discussed a revision to the student code of conduct. One of the changes arguably allows principals to enact shorter out of school suspensions. The changes affect Level II and III offenses and add time frame guidance. See the proposed revisions and view page 5 for Level II and 7 for Level III for details of offenses.
Just so parents understand what this means, they need to understand what these levels entail. Level II are things like cheating, bullying, sexual harassment and fighting. Level III are activities like gang activities, drugs, alcohol, guns and bomb threats.
At the time I wrote about the proposed changes, I suspected this suspension policy change had more to do with the lawsuit against Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) and Wake county sheriff departments than anything else.
I think my suspicion was accurate given the information in the recent article at the News and Observer Ed Blog:
But Jennifer Story, an attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina, was more skeptical as she focused on changes to the due process policy that were also tentatively approved last week.
Story pointed to new wording in the due process policy that says that students will be assigned to an alternative placement following a recommendation of a long-term suspension. Students who complete SCORE, an online-based alternative program, are not recorded by Wake as having had a long-term suspension. Story said SCORE doesn’t provide students with what they need educationally.
“The proposed changes to the WCPSS due process policies have the potential to ultimately reduce, not the actual number of students being suspended, but instead more narrowly the district’s responsibility to publicly report those students as being long-term suspended,” Story said in a statement.
All the changes comes as Wake is the subject of an ongoing federal civil-rights investigation into whether the district’s discipline policies and practices discriminate against African-American students on the basis of race.
DING! DING! DING! I’m a winner!
The article also has this gem from Board member Jim Martin:
“We want to minimize infractions and maximize education,” Martin said. “That’s not done effectively outside out of school.”
Yes, let’s just remove all consequences for the kids, shall we? That will surely be more effective. No, it won’t but hey, remember, this isn’t really about the kids. This is about getting the Feds out of their hair and appeasing the School To Prison Pipeline crowd.
And what is Mr. Martin basing this statement on? We have no idea.
Martin went on to say they need to ‘reduce recidivism’ and focus on changing the behavior of the students. Mmmkay. Using terminology like recidivism, which used when referring to prisoners, does not bolster your case, Mr. Martin.
Here’s what I bet happens — This board will be looking to implement ‘restorative justice’ as a means of making said behavioral changes.
Why do I bet that? Because the article ends with this kumbaya quote from Brenda Elliott the Wake assistant superintendent for student support:
“Research says that increasing lengths of suspension isn’t related to school safety at all,” Elliott said. “There are other things that schools do to help feel students feel safe. The key thing is to provide a nurturing classroom.”
I wonder if Ms. Elliott also knows a major reason parents pull their kids out of a school is because they have concerns about their child’s safety?
Consider this local policy change with the one that was handed down by the Obama administration. If you think they are unrelated, you’re nuts.
Feds Order Colleges to Stop Checking Criminal/School Discipline History Because it Discriminates Against Minoritieshttps://t.co/Lu0hUCETC4
— Judicial Watch (@JudicialWatch) May 21, 2016