Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The Toledo Public School District has added itself to the ranks of large school districts revisiting their approach to student discipline. The district has implemented a preventive approach. Its plan was to to be more proactive than reactive and have an open dialogue with students about what they did wrong and how they can behave better in the future. If the numbers reflect reality, it appears to be working. Under the new system, the number of suspensions at one school dropped from 260 to 41, and no students have been expelled.
Limiting the amount of time students spend outside the classroom was one of the main goals of the program, but the district also removed its detention and the demerit system. Now, students areprovided with educational incentives for good behavior. And, when students do misbehave, they are first given an opportunity to explain themselves and why they acted out, rather than beginning with a conversation about punishment. This is intended to open a dialogue of what an appropriate reaction or behavior would have been in the situation, making it a learning experience for the student.
The district was originally motivated to make change because of its drastic racial disparities. There is no indication those have entirely vanished, but the district appears to be making significant progress. More on the story here.