On October 16, education organizers in Paterson, NJ, scored a victory for school discipline reform and the Solutions Not Suspensions initiative. Thanks to the hard work of the Paterson Education Fund and Parent Education Organizing Council, the local school board voted to institute a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for minor misbehaviors like dress code violations, tardiness and willful disobedience.
The school board also committed to developing and implementing positive discipline practices within the next year to keep students in the classroom rather than pushing them out school.
The full resolution reads:
"Approve confirmation of the Board's priority in keeping students in classrooms in safe and healthy environments and that the State District Superintendent shall enforce the District's Student code of Conduct with regard to penalties applied to Category I Infractions so that no student receives an out-of-school suspension for a Category I Infraction, and will begin the process, to be completed within a year, to develop and implement positive approaches to addressing student behaviors rather than sending them home without access to educational services."
Learn more about organizers' work around school discipline reform in Paterson here.
Solutions Not Suspensions, and initiative launched by the OTL Campaign and the Dignity in Schools Campaign, advocates for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions across the country. Suspensions, which increase a student's chances of dropping out and becoming involved with the criminal justice system, are disproportionately levied against students of color and students with disabilities, often for minor misbehaviors. Ending the overuse and misuse of suspensions is a key strategy for closing the achievement gap and ensuring all students can succeed. Learn more here!