Tonight the RCSD Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the “new” code of conduct.
An e-mail sent by Metro Justice and the Alliance for Quality Education “is pushing the Board of Education at the Rochester City School District to pass a new discipline code.
The amendments are as follow:
1. The new code limits the use of exclusionary discipline, ie. suspensions and expulsions (which makes students more likely to dropout of school) Nearly 90 percent of suspensions are for minor or non-violent behavior.
2. The new code replaces vague guidelines for discipline with clear ones (discipline matrix). Vague discipline guidelines contribute to students of color receiving harsher discipline for the same behavior as their white peers, this is true of other disparities (disability, language, gender, LGTBQ+).
3. The new code focuses on relationship building to create positive school climate within schools. Students are more engaged and behave better when they have a trusted adult to talk to at school.”
Students who are suspended for minor violations are probably getting suspended purposefully. Students who don’t feel respected by the system are not likely to engage in the system.
Students of color receive harsher discipline measures because the adults meting out the discipline see “students of color” as being less capable of learning and following the rules. The behaviors may be the same but the responses vary and are perceived differently by the frightened adults that have no knowledge, understanding, or respect for the gifts and talents their “unruly” students possess.
It is difficult to build a positive relationship under negative conditions. The school environment is not conducive to relationship building since it is fraught with scenarios of death such as ending a relationship after one hundred-eighty days to begin a new one ninety days later.
When we provide every child in America with a free and public education that is developmentally appropriate, founded in the Arts, experiential and concentrated on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizens, the “code” of conduct will be respect of self and others.
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