Resolution in Support of the Coalition For Fairness & Equity in Schools
Sponsor: Councilman Nnamdi Chukwuocha
June 10, 2014
Whereas, the Coalition for Fairness and Equity in Schools, a group of community-based organizations, community leaders and elected officials, have convened and formulated a mission to work collaboratively with educators and policy-makers to ensure a quality public education for all Delaware students; and
Whereas, the Coalition for Fairness and Equity in Schools, hereinafter referred to as the “Coalition,” envisions an educational system that fosters a positive environment where students are educated and respected; discipline policies and procedures are fair, equitable, applied consistently and clearly understood; children are given opportunities to learn from their mistakes and grow; and families and communities are engaged in the process; and
Whereas, Delaware is part of a disturbing national trend known as the “school to prison pipeline” where in the 2012-2013 school year 39% of public school students in the state received in-or-out of school suspensions and students with disabilities were suspended at about twice the rate as their peers; and
Whereas, the odds for suspension and expulsion soar even higher depending on the race of the student as evidenced in African American and Latino students being suspended three to four times more than their white peers, even when they represent a substantially low enrollment rate overall; and
Whereas, research has shown that extended absences and exclusionary practices cause students, many of whom are already struggling academically, to fall behind and never catch up to their peers which leads to a series of negative consequences affecting their lives and the community as a whole; and
Whereas, federal discipline guidance developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice instructs schools to commit to the regular evaluation of the school discipline policies and practices, and to monitor progress toward the schools climate and discipline goals; and
Whereas, this process requires schools to collect and publicly report disaggregated student discipline data, soliciting feedback from the full array of community stakeholders including students, staff, families and community representatives; and
Whereas, the Coalition in conjunction with the ACLU of Delaware is focused on eliminating the use of zero tolerance practices and ending discriminatory practices; and
Whereas, the Coalition seeks to partner with districts, schools and the Delaware Department of Education to implement the following recommendations:
Priority 1: Publicly report discipline data on an annual basis for each district and school, including data disaggregated by offense, sanction imposed, race, gender, disability status, and limited English proficiency status.
Priority 2: Create district level community-based advisory committees to annually review discipline policies, data, and provide recommendations that promotes equity and restorative strategies.
Priority 3: Create school level teams (school staff, parents, community advocates, and student representatives) in schools with excessive or disparate discipline rates.
Priority 4: Increase professional development opportunities for school personnel focused on cultural competency, classroom management, trauma-informed interventions and asset development, including a follow-up component to monitor effectiveness.
Priority 5: Provide advocacy training to families in various venues that include topics such as school codes of conduct, asset management, cultural competency and leadership opportunities sponsored by school districts.
Priority 6: Create student-led councils to provide input and leadership that support positive behavior.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON, that the City Council respectfully supports the Mission, Vision and Priorities of the Coalition for Fairness and Equity in Schools and requests the school districts representing the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware to collaboratively work with the Coalition to accomplish its recommendations.