In 2015, 36 percent of Hispanic high schools students and 27.3 percent of black students reported feeling so sad or hopeless every day for two or more weeks that they stopped doing some of their usual activities, according to the state Department of Public Health’s 2015 Connecticut Youth Risk Behavior Survey. By comparison, 22.6 percent of white students answered the same.
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Research studies suggest that challenges students face outside the classroom and unacknowledged biases among teachers both are factors in higher discipline rates for students who are black, male, or have disabilities.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is reviewing an Obama-era policy that tried to counter racial bias in school discipline and lessen penalties for student infractions. That’s putting a spotlight on what causes disparities in school discipline and how they can be fixed.
The Cumberland County sheriff’s office was given countywide responsibility 30 years ago, when then-Fayetteville Police Chief Ron Hansen suggested school duty was better suited for the sheriff’s office because schools are governed and operated by county government.
Representatives signed what they called a Partnership Agreement Community Teams with Schools document that outlines strategies for addressing student misconduct.
A new study of Chicago Public Schools found that a modest drop in suspensions for high-level offenses actually led to small increases in test scores and attendance for all students in a school.
Credit a reboot of student discipline and a system of school operation that teaches kids how to behave in every scenario and rewards positive behavior. Rather than only negatively reacting to misdeeds, every adult in the building creates clear expectations and goes out of his or her way to honor good conduct as a way of preventing trouble.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is pushing legislation that would make several changes to the state’s juvenile justice policies and spending plans, including limitations on the use of detention and increased resources for rural parts of the state.
The goal is to have school districts—with parental feedback—develop a graduated “positive discipline” system that leads to punitive punishment and lost school time only as a last resort. It would also require schools to factor in the role that formative traumatic stress plays on student behavior.
Susan Enfield, superintendent of Highline Public Schools, responded to criticism by seeking additional feedback from teachers and principals, ensuring that top officials from the district visit schools throughout the year to see firsthand the changes in progress. She plans to introduce tweaks along the way—by adding more opportunities for kids to work on social and emotional skills, for example.