by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Philadelphia School District has directed school police officers to stop responding to calls related to Level 1 student conduct offenses. The proscribed violations range from "failure to follow classroom rules" to "truancy" to "verbal altercations" to "inappropriate touching/public displays of affection."
"These infractions are not criminal offenses; they are classroom/student management issues," wrote District Chief Inspector Carl W. Holmes to school administrators and school police in a memo dated March 10.
by Evie Blad for Education Week
Leaders of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have issued new guidance on how school leaders can ensure that discipline polices are drafted and applied in a manner that does not discriminate against racial or ethnic groups.
Leaders should also seek alternatives to "exclusionary" penalties like suspension and expulsion that rob students of valuable classroom time, often for nonviolent offenses, said U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who were scheduled to discuss the guidance at an event this morning at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore.
The new guidance clarifies how districts can meet their obligations under Title IV and Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which relate to fair and nondiscriminatory treatment among schools and recipients of federal aid.
The Notebook has a content sharing arrangement with Education Week, where this article originally appeared.
by Nirvi Shah
When the student-government president here at City Springs Elementary/Middle School turned into the class clown last school year and began treating teachers disrespectfully, administrators had many options for how to deal with him, including sending him home for a few days to cool his heels.
After years of youth organizing groups making arguments against the District’s “zero-tolerance” policy, members of the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools achieved a victory in August.
The School Reform Commission voted to adopt a new student code of conduct, which gives principals more authority to handle disciplinary cases and puts more emphasis on intervention and prevention rather than punishment.
[Updated, 8:15 p.m.] The School Reform Commission, meeting Thursday evening, ratified a change to its new student code of conduct, heard a staff presentation on the status of charter renewals, and listened to extensive testimony from parents at two charter schools clouded by a scandal.
Briana Jackson said her life changed when Mastery Charter took over Gratz High School a year ago.
The self-described former troublemaker, now a senior, said that the transformation isn't yet complete; she still gets detentions now and then. But the person who was regularly suspended has turned into a serious student, athlete and student-government member with her sights set on attending Howard University and becoming a nurse.
The Notebook has a content-sharing agreement with Education Week, where this piece originally appeared. Last week, the School Reform Commission revised the District's Student Code of Conduct to prohibit the use of out-of-school suspension for several low-level offenses.
The School Reform Commission voted Thursday evening to adopt a revised code of conduct that gives principals more discretion in handling disciplinary cases and prevents some infractions from being punished by out-of-school suspensions.
Incoming Superintendent William Hite told a roomful of school leaders at the District's annual leadership summit Monday morning that enforcement of rules is just one piece of school discipline and that "zero tolerance" to him means "a preventive set of strategies," rather than a punishment tool.
A new committee of the School Reform Commission attempted Tuesday evening to tackle an old issue – school violence.
First, the SRC’s new Safety and Engagement Committee was presented with a report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Safe Schools, originally convened more than a year ago by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.