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3. Suspension/Expulsion Reform
School officials in Maryland made the news earlier in the month after suspending a 6-year-old boy for pointing his finger like it was a gun. His family quickly got themselves a lawyer, and not long afterward the school rescinded the suspension and wiped it from the boy’s record.
Because funding is based on attendance, kicking students out of school obviously comes with costs. As a consequence, schools are now reconsidering the “no tolerance” policies that have led to such ridiculous outcomes and have proven to be so costly to school districts’ bottom lines.
In Colorado in November, legislators passed a law to scale back “no tolerance” rules, giving administrators and school boards more leeway in determining student discipline. The legislation followed another silly disciplinary incident where a 6-year-old was accused of sexual harassment and suspended for singing LFMAO’s “[I’m] Sexy and I Know It” to another student.
Other school districts are attempting to follow suit and reduce suspensions and expulsions as go-to disciplinary tools. The Washington Post noted this week that D.C. charter schools actually expel students at a much higher rate than their public school counterparts.
Beyond preserving funds by keeping students in school, the reform also takes into account that parents’ hands are no longer tied when dealing with authoritarian responses from school administrators and teachers. Had the parents of the boy with the finger guns found his school officials to be unresponsive, they could have essentially taken their business elsewhere. Maryland has many charter schools.
Next: Maybe we don’t actually need their butts at their desks after all.