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Seattle Looks for Alternatives to Suspensions After Placing Ban for Elementary School Students

Seattle Looks for Alternatives to Suspensions After Placing Ban for Elementary School Students

This week the Seattle School Board unanimously voted to place a one-year moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for elementary school students accused of committing select non-violent offenses.

Though the resolution originally included all offenses that were not deemed to threaten the health and safety of other, "[i]t was amended to target suspensions only for disruptive conduct, rule breaking and disobedience," said The Seattle Times.

The Seattle School Board made the decision in hopes to eventually end suspensions for all non-violent behavior.

Board member Harium Martin-Morris said his resolution was inspired by research from "Portland, Minneapolis and Baltimore, showing that kids who are suspended during the 'critical learning years' of elementary school are more likely to run into future problems," The Times said.

Though some are worried that the resolution does not offer alternatives to suspensions when dealing with disruptive behavior, Martin-Morris told The Times this was intentional in order to inspire thinking that will help determine solutions.

The hope is that by the end of the moratorium next year, the district will be able to develop a plan to reduce suspensions across grade levels and " halt what some see as the school-to-prison pipeline."

Earlier this year, educator Wesley Owens described some positive ways his school reduced rates after data revealed it had the highest number of suspensions in its district.

Lyon Academy at Blow Elementary created a school-wide positive environment by "using Kickboard, an instructional management system to track all behaviors but to focus mostly on the positive ones," as Education World formerly reported

In just four years, Owens told ASCD that his school was able to reduce out-of-school suspensions to just 3 for the 2014-2015 school year.

Owens said reinforcing, recognizing and repeating positive behaviors had much to do with his school's success. Perhaps Seattle would be interested in taking a look.

Read the full article here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/25/2015

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