Open Letter to Board States New Policy Will Benefit Kids, Parents and Teachers
DALLAS — A broad coalition of civil rights organizations today sent an open letter to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees urging them to pass a proposed policy that would limit discretionary suspensions and expulsions for elementary students in Dallas ISD. This policy would correct injustices wrought by exclusionary discipline — which disproportionately impacts students of color and students with disabilities — while giving teachers tools to address student misbehavior and saving taxpayer money. The policy was introduced by Trustee Miguel Solis in May 2016 and is currently under consideration.
The following statement may be attributed to Kali Cohn, legal fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:
“Exclusionary discipline is a major driver of the school-to-prison pipeline. By limiting suspensions and expulsions of our youngest students, this policy will ensure that we’re keeping them in school actively learning, rather than placing them on a path of disengagement that often cycles into the criminal justice system.”
The following may be attributed to Deborah Fowler, executive director for Texas Appleseed:
“It has been suggested that schools need exclusionary discipline for this age group as a ‘tool’ to address misbehavior. But research has consistently shown that it not only fails to correct misbehavior – it may actually cause a student’s behavioral problems to get worse. It also comes at great expense to the district. At a time when school districts are experiencing serious funding issues, it only makes sense to use funds on tools that are proven to work.”
The following may be attributed to Monica Lindsey, a parent leader and board member with the Texas Organizing Project:
“Our teachers, who are doing the hard and important work of educating our kids, need to receive training and support not just to teach their subjects, but also to manage their classrooms full of young students. They deserve to have a full toolbox of effective classroom management strategies. By equipping educators with better tools, we will be keeping more students, particularly young students of color, in the classroom learning, and out of our criminal justice system.
06-08-2016 Open Letter to Dallas ISD Board of Trustees: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/2016-06-08_open_letter_to_disd_board_of_trustees.pdf