Parents, Advocates Calling For Changes In Public School Punishment

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Across the country, parents and students are taking a closer look at the way kids are punished in public schools.

Advocates are urging school districts to end zero-tolerance discipline and policing in public schools. It’s called The National Week of Action. The Dignity in Schools Campaign asks that students be “Lifted Up, Not Pushed Out.”

The Education Rights Network spoke at a Pittsburgh Public Schools Board hearing Monday.

“Last year, PPS students missed 15,901 days for suspensions,” Pamela Harbin told board members.

They worry about kids falling behind, dropping out, or even worse.

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“The school-to-prison pipeline is real,” parent Bernard Isley told the board.

Members of the group are especially concerned about African-American and disabled students.

“We have certain schools that are already doing restorative justice practices. We just need to extend that. We need to make sure all of the administration understand the code of conduct, what is and is not suspendable,” Valerie Allman told KDKA’s Kym Gable.

Aimee Mangham added, “If we want to keep up with the rest of the globe when it comes to education, we need to stop kicking kids out.”

The Education Rights Network will also co-host the national rally in Pittsburgh on Oct. 20.


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