As schools grapple with how to reopen for the fall semester amid a global pandemic, education leaders must remember that many schools also need to rescind discipline policies and practices that harm students.
While recent actions across the country to remove police from schools are a step in the right direction, more changes are required to create a safe, healthy, and equitable learning environment that serves students from all backgrounds when they return to classrooms.
Exclusionary school discipline practices and policies — which commonly include suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to law enforcement — have created an ongoing public health crisis that disproportionately affects students with disabilities and students who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.
In an opinion piece published in Education Week, restorative justice expert Thalia González and ChangeLab Solutions staff members Alexis Etow and Cesar De La Vega call for an end to exclusionary school discipline practices:
“Governors, state school boards, and local school districts must take decisive action to implement an immediate moratorium on exclusionary school discipline in all schools. Such a moratorium is the first step in ending a legacy of educational racism that threatens community health and well-being. Offering trauma-informed supports and resources to students, teachers, and families is equally important.”
Please read the full op-ed on the Education Week website to learn more.