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Number of Students Disciplined Dropped Twenty Percent This Year, Mass. State Data Says

Number of Students Disciplined Dropped Twenty Percent This Year, Mass. State Data Says

New state laws that have set out to reduce long-term suspensions have resulted in a twenty percent decrease in the number of students disciplined statewide, says The Boston Globe.

Massachusetts’ efforts echo efforts of states across the country that are seeking to turn to restorative justice as opposed to explosion and suspension disciplinary measures that interfere with a child’s ability to learn.

"Although the rate of overall discipline has dropped, it remains uneven in some school-to-school comparisons. Black, Latino, and poor students continue to receive out-of-school suspensions at higher rates than their white classmates,” The Globe said.

"But education advocates were heartened by the fact that discipline rates for those students declined faster than the state average.”

In order to make the disciplinary changes possible, The Globe says Mass. districts are relying in positive interventions and support systems for disciplined students to ensure that despite being disciplined, they do not fall behind.

"Instead of suspending students, many schools have tried to work with them in the classroom, use peer mediation, small group instruction, one-on-one counseling and provide extra help for teachers,” the article said.

In Boston, the public school spokesman told The Globe that the district is "implementing measures to take before a student has to be suspended,” part of the reason behind rates significantly dropping this year.

But not everyone is optimistic that the reduced suspension rates means more support for students.

"While heartened by the new report, Cregor, of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, said he worries that schools are underreporting discipline, especially emergency removals. That is when a principal removes a student temporarily after he or she is charged with a disciplinary offense because the principal believes the student is dangerous.”

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

12/31/2015

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