These conversations have provided an opportunity for me to re-evaluate my perspective, based on my experience, understanding and knowledge related to this topic. One of the particularly interesting articles I found, “Why Schools Over-Discipline Children with Disabilities” from The Atlantic, gives an overview of the issue of disproportionate suspension rates and highlights several related research studies. The most dominant, UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, reported that:
In response to this data, schools are taking action by changing policy and investing in interventions that will potentially work towards supporting schools and ultimately re-engaging students who are struggling. Large urban school districts like Los Angeles and Oakland Unified School Districts have already eliminated the classification of suspension for non-violent offenses, like “willful defiance”.
As a sign of alignment and progression, this article references “new discipline guidelines”, including PBIS. This is where we come in, to help create positive changes related to the school culture and climate, including Tier I systems and interventions. Check out the full article and consider the ways your school site relates to this issue and the research. Ask yourself, what strategies are we supporting schools to implement in response to the needs of these student?
Lilly Green, Direct of School Partnerships