Schools closing the discipline gap

Suspension and expulsion give way to restorative justice and other equity initiatives in K12

By Jessica Ablamsky

BCPS_Promise-1                                                  BROWARD PROMISE—Members of the Broward County community, including police officers and court officials, attend a PROMISE program meeting, above. The program puts students in trouble into a special education program to learn from mistakes.

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, hundreds of students from about a dozen high schools in Oakland, California, cut class last November to voice their discontent with President-elect Donald Trump.

Rather than demand students return to school, faculty at Oakland USD supported the peaceful demonstration, where students could express their feelings, says David Yusem, Oakland’s restorative justice program coordinator.

It is part of a transformation in the district, which in recent years has sought to replace zero-tolerance discipline policies with alternatives designed to eliminate the racial divide in school discipline.