Schools in the District of Columbia have an obligation to provide students with an excellent education that places them on the path to successful adulthood. To promote this goal, the District should strive to ensure that every student is in school every day of the school year. Some of the District’s current disciplinary policies undermine this effort and push thousands of students out of school every semester. In order to improve school engagement, we offer the following summary of our recommendations:
- Provide funding for schools to implement alternatives to exclusionary discipline and programs that promote a positive school climate.
- Limit the behaviors that can serve as grounds for suspension to those in which the student poses a danger to the safety of the school community.
- Remove financial incentives for schools to push students out.
- Improve the memorandum of agreement that governs the role of school resource officers in District schools.
- Improve data collection and reporting.
- Charge the Office of the State Superintendent of Education with investigating and directing corrective action in the schools that suspend, expel, or arrest at rates higher than those of other schools serving students in the same grade.
- Involve families, students, school personnel, and youth-serving community-based organizations in the development and implementation of disciplinary policies.
- Set targets for yearly reduction in the number of disciplinary exclusions.
The Every Student Every Day Policy Platform is a work in progress. We invite input from our supporters and the community at large on how to improve the platform. It is our intention to regularly update the policy platform based on the best available evidence to promote policies that most effectively promote school engagement. Please send any thoughts or comments on the platform to Alex Peerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.