Reduce detention and suspension of minority kids in Albemarle County Schools

Reduce detention and suspension of minority kids in Albemarle County Schools

October 31, 2019
Petition to
Albemarle County School Board and
Signatures: 489Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Daisy Rojas

The photo and comment above was captured this past spring after my son had been sent out of class to the detention room more than 50 times. As you can see from the scars on his arm in the above photo, he had also begun cutting and self-harming.

The statement above the photo was made in an email by one of several teachers who continually sent him to detention in spite of the emotional harm it caused. Needless to say, his diagnosis of anxiety increased to severe depression during the same time-frame.

My son is not alone in his experience. Day after day, hour after hour he spent with many other children of color--immigrants and black students often with diagnosed conditions such as his who were repeatedly sent out of class and excluded from learning.

This petition asks our local officials to fully adopt and set aside funds to provide staff, enforce policies and develop positive-based procedures to stop harsh treatment of minority and disabled students in Albemarle County schools. 

We are asking for dedicated funds set aside to employ full time support staff and new teachers across area middle schools. Hiring additional staff combined with ongoing training programs and newly written transparency procedures with defined consequences would rapidly provide positive returns and begin the work of turning what has become a negative trend into a positive learning environment for all students.

A recent education policy report “The High Cost of Harsh Discipline and its Disparate Impact states: “If policymakers who once endorsed tougher codes of conduct that include frequent disciplinary removal had known of the tremendous long-term economic cost of suspending students from school, it is likely that most schools would have invested in more constructive approaches to handling misbehavior that reserve removal from the classroom or school as a punishment of last resort” (2016).

By signing this petition we ask our county officials to:

1. Stop the existing harsh discipline in the county middle schools that disproportionately affects minorities, black, immigrant and students with disabilities and learning difficulties.

2. Adopt new policies that include transparent accountability measures for teacehrs and staff that engage in discriminatory actions.

3. Hire a combination of 5 teachers and support staff including an emotional support case worker for each middle school to reduce the student/teacher ratio, address specific needs of students who have difficulties and provide teacehrs a better opportunity for differentiated instruction in the classroom setting.

4. Commit sufficient earmarked funding to ensure that dollars are spent for the specific purposes listed above. 

Support now
Signatures: 489Next Goal: 500
Support now