We Need Your Support, Donate to Mid-City CAN

rss-icon twitter-icon google-plus-iconfacebook-icon

Mid-City CAN Blog

SD Unified principals given more discipline options

Mohamed Abrahim
Mohamed
Abrahim

Principals at San Diego Unified schools will have more options when dealing with discipline thanks to the advocacy of Mid-City CAN members and City Heights resident leaders.

On July 29, a group of Mid-City CAN members supported Chief Student Services Officer Joe Fulcher as he presented a proposal to change the way that San Diego Unified School District's suspension and expulsion policy works.

"The proposed plan would be an alternative to traditional discipline approaches as well as address the disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates for African-American and Latino students," according to the district.

The change would mean that the 15 instances where principals would be required to recommend expulsion would be reduced to five, giving them more leeway to consider individual circumstances.

Fulcher challenged the board to treat misbehavior as an opportunity to teach.

"We teach kids who can't read, can't multiply, can't drive, can't swim, but how about a kid who misbehaves in school? What do we do?" Fulcher asked. "We give them detention. We suspend -- we may even expel, but why don't we teach those kids what proper behavior is?"

Fulcher also questioned the effectiveness of suspensions.

"Do students learn a valuable lesson and vow not to do it again?" he asked "Or do students get a day off to text and play video games."

Mid-City CAN members gave emotional testimony about their own experiences with suspensions, and the board voted to approve the recommendations.

Mohamed Abrahim, 16, is a student at San Diego High who said he was suspended because of a misunderstanding that was made worse by his parents' inability to speak English.

"I missed my work at home three days," he said.

Mohamed said he ended up having to attend summer school.

"They should not suspend the kids," Mohamed said. "They are just going to waste their time at home."

Fulcher talked about how changes would allow principals to consider individual circumstances in instances like multiple tobacco offenses. Before, the third one was a zero tolerance offense where the leader of the school had to recommend expulsion.

"We want principals to have some flexibility in that decision, and, instead of an automatic expulsion, start looking at ways to support that student, through maybe some tobacco-cessation program," he said. "Principals have no choice at this point."

Superintendent Cindy Marten reinforced the importance of discretion for principals.

"We are looking at changing to give them more flexibility," she said. "So just to be clear, it is not that the zero-tolerance policy is going away.

"It will be at the discretion of the site leader who has the context."

Fulcher also outlined a restorative district pilot initiative – with a restorative justice approach that would inform student discipline.

Restorative practices mean "holding the offenders accountable directly to the people they violated to the extent possible," Fulcher said. "We want students to figure out how to solve these concerns."

San Diego Unified Chief Student Services Officer Joe Fulcher said, "We teach kids who can’t read, can’t multiply, can’t drive, can’t swim, but how about a kid who misbehaves in school? What do we do? We give them detention. We suspend -- we may even expel, but why don’t we teach those kids what proper behavior is?" Photo by Adam Ward
San Diego Unified Chief Student Services Officer Joe Fulcher said, "We teach kids who can't read, can't multiply, can't drive, can't swim, but how about a kid who misbehaves in school? What do we do? We give them detention. We suspend -- we may even expel, but why don't we teach those kids what proper behavior is?" Photo by Adam Ward

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

REACH US AT

(619) 272-7582

PHYSICAL ADDRESS:
4305 UNIVERSITY AVE.
SUITE 550
SAN DIEGO, CA 92105

MAILING ADDRESS:
P.O. Box 12319
SAN DIEGO, CA 92112



Quotation (Left)

The Mid-City Community Advocacy Network's mission is to create a safe, productive,Quotation (Right)
and healthy community through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing.




Fiscal sponsor Mission Edge San Diego.


COPYRIGHT © 1995-CURRENT, MID-CITY CAN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.