A new approach to disciplining, punishing kids Matthew Albright and Jessica Masulli Reyes, The News Journal
If Delaware wants to address disparities in its criminal justice system, it must reform the way it disciplines and punishes kids, advocates for youth and schools say.
Harsh punishments like out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and arrests should be used only when absolutely necessary, they argue. For lesser offenses, the education and justice systems should instead try to support troubled youth and teach better behavior.
So let me see !!!!!! Currently students are being arrested for chewing gum in class! Being expelled for going to the bathroom without permission. Out school suspension for farting in class! WTF! They are being suspended because they are disruptive !
The time is long overdue for putting “trained and “qualified” crisis interventionist in our public schools. Asking teaches to be social worker and crisis interventionist is insane! As far as “better behavior” what about parents?
Kids fall behind academically when they miss class, which increases the chances that they will drop out. When a student isn’t in school, he or she is more likely to be “on the street” and exposed to criminal activity.
And what about the students trying to do their work in class while the disruptive behavior is taking place?
Sixty-four percent of students who received such suspensions were black, even though only 32 percent of students statewide are black, the group found.
So this article is about race not behavior in general ! I think we need to stop and focus in on why black students are being suspended at a higher rate than their white people! Do we have racist teachers in the system? Racist principals?
The Christina School District has been overhauling its school discipline policies since the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found in 2012 that its schools were more heavily disciplining black students than white students.
And Christina has been working on that issue and making progress.
In August and September of this school year, the district handed out 360 suspensions, down 455 from the same period last year.
“We’re working on it every month,” Racca said. “It’s not just a matter of rewriting some documents, it’s a matter of changing culture
And its working! So why is the News Journal blowing the siren like there is a crisis not being addressed?
Attorney General Matt Denn wants to see changes made to the state’s justice system.
One proposal would remove the requirement that schools automatically report any misdemeanor assaults that take place on campus. Parents or school personnel could still choose to file charges, but they would not be bound to do so.
“We’re dealing with adolescents here,” Denn said. “We think responsible adults should have some discretion.”
So look the other way when a crime is committed and leave it up to the parent to press charges! Whatever happen to snitches get stitches? Sorry folks, when a “crime” is committed in school the school has an obligation.
Denn also wants to expand the number and type of offenses that minors could have expunged from their criminal records.
Their juvenile records are sealed once they turn 18 years old. Perhaps all misdemeanor should be expunded for all citizens after they are convicted and complete sentencing after 5-7 years. Non violent felonies after 10! It seems we have a problem in this country in the criminal justice system that is in dire need of change. Allow crimes in public schools go unchecked isn’t the answer!
This year, the state started a juvenile civil citation initiative. It allows youth busted for first-time, low-level misdemeanors to get citations that don’t put them into the juvenile criminal justice system.
Civil citations can be issued for one of six violations: disorderly conduct, shoplifting, criminal trespassing, loitering and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana
We’ll that’s a great start. Kind of like a first offenders program! But allowing schools to sweep bullying under the carpet isn’t going to address any problems.
“Research has shown that youth who come into the system have a higher rate of recidivism,” said Donna Pugh, the initiative’s coordinator. “If we keep them out of the system in the first place, we can prevent them from coming back.”
So looking the other way is the answers ? Look, it all comes down to this, $$$. Schools cannot keep dipping into the academic or transportation local budget to pay for things the state should be paying. Crime is not an education problem to solve! Yes school can help! But, services must come from the state as well as funding.
This approach will free up time for police officers and lift some burden off the courts, Pugh noted. Based on data from previous years, the initiative has the potential to eliminate criminal charges against minors in 11 to 18 percent of all the state’s cases, she said.
Lets decriminalize possession of marijuana for possession of one ounce and under. Damn sell it and tax it $10.00 a pack and use that money to fight crime.
New Castle County Jea Street has been pushing for changes to school discipline for decades. He says he’s optimistic that positive change could happen, but says he’s been let down too many times not to be wary.
“Systemically we have failed children. The purpose of discipline should be to change and modify behavior,” Street said. “Suspensions don’t do that and putting a kid at age seven or eight into the criminal justice system doesn’t do that. It has to change.”
And that will take a state fully funded crisis interventionist program not some EPR program! Not some community base group pushing tough love! We need real trained and certified crisis interventionists who should have the authority to restrain a student when necessary.