Forum Comes After UCLA Study Finds Suspensions Put Students onto a Pathway to Prison
A second forum on the “School 2 Prison Pipeline” takes place next Saturday in Haverhill.
Among topics on the agenda is whether Haverhill school disciplinary policies and procedures are in need of review to conform with state law changes enacted in 2012. The law requires “school districts and charter schools to ensure that students who have been excluded from school for disciplinary reasons have the opportunity to make academic progress during the period of their exclusion,” according to a summary by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“We will be going over success stories, stats, and steps in this upcoming meeting,” according to Katrina Hobbs-Everett, co-Founder of Power of Self Education (POSE). How are other cities are addressing this issue, a review of local records about students suspended or expelled and “how we can make a difference in Haverhill” is on the agenda.
The forum comes after a study released this week found charter schools, in particular, are suspending a “disturbing number…of their black students and students with disabilities at highly disproportionate rates compared to white and non-disabled students.” The analysis by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project attributed the high suspension rates to “zero tolerance” discipline.
“It’s disturbing to see so many of these schools still reporting such high suspension rates because that indicates charter leaders continue to pursue ‘broken windows,’ ‘no excuses’ and other forms of ‘zero tolerance’ discipline,” said Daniel Losen, the Center’s director and the study’s lead author. “And we know from decades of research that frequently suspending children from school is counter-productive.”
The research concludes, “suspending students for even minor infractions predicts lower academic achievement, higher dropout rates and too many kids being pushed onto a pathway to prison,” according to a UCLA statement.
The Haverhill meeting takes place Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Haverhill’s alternative school at St. James, 415 Primrose St., Haverhill. A light lunch will be served.
An earlier forum took place Feb. 20 with a talk by Rev. George Walters Sleyon, founder of the Center for Church and Prison.
For more information, contact Katrina Hobbs-Everett by emailing [email protected] or calling (978) 457-3676.