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District of Columbia Board of Education
|For immediate release: May 4, 1998
||For more information contact:
Mary Bunn, 724-4289
Board committee chair recommends that DCPS pull back proposed discipline policy for
Washington, DC: Today, Board of Education President Wilma Harvey
announced that she will recommend that the District public school administration pull back
the revised discipline policy proposed by past CEO Becton for further work.
Our panel of citizen advisors raised a disturbing number of issues around the
proposed discipline policy, said President Wilma Harvey. After listening to
two and a half hours of testimony I am convinced that the policy, as written, will
compound the problems of student discipline and unnecessarily expose DCPS to legal
The Board public hearing, held April 28, began with a roundtable discussion with two
lawyers specializing in juvenile justice issues, a principal of an alternative charter
school and a representative of National Council of La Raza. Today the elected Board of
Education of the District of Columbia released the minutes of its public meeting.
The panelists discussed a range of issues that they felt the proposed policy failed to
- The policy establishes a wall of sternness, isolating children with discipline problems
rather than pulling them into the system.
- It fails to recognize that discipline problems become evident as early as first, second
and third grade, allows disruptive students to continue through a system rift with
neglect, and ignores the original issue that led to the discipline problem.
- When notifying parents of students with discipline problems, the policy does not take
into account families who do not speak English at home.
- Sections of the policy violate the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- The process for removing disruptive students from a classroom or school includes so many
steps that it increases the chance for administrators to be caught on a technicality.
The Board of Education sponsored the public hearing to provide their community advisors
and city residents the opportunity to discuss the policy in public. This meeting is
an example of what the elected Board has begun as an ongoing process of working with the
public to actually resolve a problem, stated Phil Blair, the coordinator of the