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Think Out Loud

Discipline in Schools

Pete Springer/OPB

A new study (pdf) of public schools in Multnomah County shows that students of color are disciplined more often than their white counterparts for offenses ranging from threats of violence to cutting class. The Portland Parent Union says disciplinary policies that suspend or expel offending students lead more minority youth to drop out of school. The Skanner goes one step further, linking school discipline with youth incarceration.

The Portland Parent Union, along with the national organization Dignity in Schools, is calling for changes to school disciplinary policies to favor alternatives to suspension and expulsion. Portland Public Schools, the county’s largest district, says (pdf) expulsion and suspension is “the action of last resort.”

Has your child been expelled or suspended from school? Has he or she been a victim in an incident where an offending student was punished? Was that punishment fair? If you’re a teacher or an administrator, do you feel school disciplinary policies are effective?

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