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Last Chance to Speak Out for Solutions Not Suspensions!
December 18, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This month, the Pittsburgh Public School Board of Education will take a critical vote to ban suspensions from PreK-2nd grade for minor non-violent misconduct.
The policy change will:
* Add “gender identity and expression” to the list of student identity groups protected from discrimination
* Prohibit the out of school suspension of students enrolled in grades below the third grade for non-violent minor disciplinary infractions, as defined in corresponding administrative regulations to this policy, effective September 1, 2018.
We need you to tell the 9 elected School Board Members to vote YES!
*To sign up to speak, you must call the Board (412) 529-3868.
Call between 9:00 and 4:00 Friday 12/15. Last chance to call is the day of the hearing (Monday 12/18) BEFORE NOON.
*Email the Board of Education at BoardOffice@pghboe.net
We SUPPORT the policy change and ask the Board of Directors to vote YES in December because:
* A start date of September 1, 2018 will allow principals, teachers, and staff time to develop a school implementation plan.
* A start date of September 1, 2018 allows time for the supports and services to be in place prior to the start of the next school year.
* Students in K-2nd missed nearly 800 days of school during 2015-16 – Kindergarten students missed 115 days of school (98 for minor offenses), 1st grade students missed 283 days of school and 3rd grade students missed 392 days of school.
* Council of Great City Schools recommended a K-2nd grade ban on suspensions because these students are missing critical instruction time – loss of learning for minor misconduct contributes to students not being able to read by 3rd grade.
* As Board member Sylvia Wilson said, “the goal is keeping kids in school so they can learn.”
* As Board member Dr. Holley said, “We can’t keep going down this road with the number of students that are sent home in K-2nd. And, those of a particular hue are sent home more than others.”
* PPS must incorporate low to no-cost alternatives like mindfulness, yoga, mediation, cool-down spaces, etc.
* Dr. Hamlet has already supported all schools with full time nurses and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). He has also expanded the implementation of Restorative Practices and a Community Schools approach.
* Pittsburgh will be the first District in Pennsylvania to ban suspensions from PreK-2nd grade. While we hoped the ban would be implemented through 5th grade, this is a huge step in the right direction.
* When the Board votes yes, we will ask all school districts in Allegheny County, including Charter Schools to enact the same ban. This will have a huge impact on students across South West PA.
* There are 2 bills in Harrisburg right now that call for a statewide ban on suspensions for minor conduct from PreK-5th grade. HB 715 was introduced by our own Rep. Jake Wheatley. A suspension ban in Pittsburgh will help move this bill.
Parents, educators, and leaders in PPS have a common goal- to support the academic development and personal growth of young people. Educators work on a daily basis to build upon student strengths and address challenges, and we know how demanding their jobs can be. Both students and educators must be supported in the effort to create Solutions, Not Suspensions for young people in Pittsburgh.