Teachers protest discipline reform
Under pressure to reduce racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions, schools are turning to “restorative justice” programs that encourage offenders to discuss their actions and make amends.
Earlier this year, Indianapolis and New York City teachers complained about poorly implemented “restorative justice” programs, reported Emmanuel Felton in Ed Week. Now, teachers in Fresno and Des Moines are saying new discipline policies are making it harder to teach.
“As Fresno Unified officials were praising McLane High School’s restorative justice program” at a conference, “teachers at the school were circulating a petition that says those same strategies have led to an unsafe campus plagued with fights and disruptions,” reports the Fresno Bee.
At least 70 of the 85 teachers at McLane High have signed a petition demanding a stricter and more consistent student discipline policy, as well as more say in how students are punished for their actions. The teachers paint McLane as a place where there are constant disruptions and numerous on-campus fights and where teachers are verbally assaulted. . . . While suspensions and expulsions at Fresno Unified have dramatically decreased since then, some teachers say the pressure to curb disciplinary action has led to zero consequences for students, and out-of-control classrooms. “Students are returned to class without consequence after assaulting teachers, both verbally and physically,” the petition declares.
There are problems in Des Moines too. “Students scream, threaten, shove and hit teachers or other students, with little consequence, students, parents and union leaders told the Register.”