Wednesday, May 22, 2019

L.A. Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates | Capital & Main

L.A. Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates | Capital & Main

GRADING CHARTER SCHOOLS: L.A. Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates
Los Angeles charters suspended black students at almost three times the rate of traditional schools; students with disabilities were suspended at nearly four times the non-charter school rate.

School suspensions are out, restorative justice is in. At least that’s the case at the Los Angeles Unified School District and wherever schools are struggling to shift from the harsh, zero-tolerance discipline of the past to a less punitive, problem-solving approach. Restorative justice de-emphasizes punishment and instead aims to repair the damage that is done when, for example, a child disrespects a teacher, or a student starts a fight. The goal is to have misbehaving students think about their negative behavior and hear directly from the person that they hurt—often in what’s known as a harm circle — about how they were affected and what can be done to fix the situation and the relationship.

22 L.A. charters — nearly all of them in high- poverty neighborhoods –accounted for 42% of the charter schools’ nearly 32,700 suspensions last year.



The shift comes 20 years after the fatal shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, after which many schools turned to “no excuses” discipline policies to stem violence. While such policies haven’t stopped school shootings, they have been profoundly damaging to some students – particularly African-Americans and those with disabilities. According to researchers at the University of California and elsewhere, students from these two groups have been suspended at far higher rates, with consequences that can last a lifetime – making school discipline a civil rights issue.
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A classroom at Green Dot’s Ánimo James B. Taylor Middle School. (Photo: Robin Urevich)
Kids who are suspended are more likely to lag behind in schoolwork and to drop out of school. Even more consequentially, some are swept along the “school to prison pipeline,” whereby kids who are suspended from school are more likely to get in trouble with law enforcement.
Under pressure from education activists and federal civil rights officials, LAUSD, the nation’s second-largest school district, has slashed suspensions in its traditional schools.

Crete Academy in South Los Angeles, an elementary school serving homeless students, suspended about one in 10 of its students last year.



Most Los Angeles charter schools have also curbed suspensions, but they have been slower to CONTINUE READING: L.A. Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates | Capital & Main

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