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Take Back Our Schools - GCS

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Take Back Our Schools.GCS Petition to stop the vote on the addendum to the GCS Student Discipline Policy that gives the Superintendent full authority to eliminate suspensions and expunge records.

Many of you may not be aware of what’s going on with our GCS Superintendent and School Board. We need your help and we need you to voice your concern by signing this petition along with emailing our school board members. The GCS School Board plans to vote on changes to the current Student Discipline Policy at their next meeting on November 12 at 6pm.

Our Superintendent, Sharon Contreras, is currently planning to change the discipline policy in Guilford County and NOT for the betterment of all our students, teachers and administrators. She is looking to add addendums to the current Student Discipline policy that will give her unlimited power to overturn student suspensions and expunge suspensions from student records.  Contreras needs to be stopped! Principals and teachers are either afraid to speak out or do not understand the magnitude of her proposal. It is up to us parents and concerned citizens to be the voice for what is right for ALL of our students and staff. Outlined below are the changes. 

·        Current policy for Short Term Suspensions (10 days or less) is at the discretion of our schools Assistant Principals and Principals. This is policy already in place by the NCSBA (North Carolina School Board Association) and follows current NC Law.
·        Students and parents currently can, and most always do meet with principals to discuss the incident and consequences given. Parents and students can also move to the district level or to the School Support Officer if they have concerns and questions. This policy currently stands state wide. There are NO appeal processes for short term suspensions in ANY district in the state of NC via NC General Statute 115C-390.6. A Supreme Court of Goss v Lopez ruling actually ruled against appeals for short term suspensions. 


Currently under Contreras, principals have been encouraged to reduce suspensions and keep students in class. GCS is reducing the amount of suspension, but at a cost. GCS have the lowest rate of suspensions under her leadership, but the highest rate of violence in our schools. To date, hundreds of teachers have left their positions due to safety concerns/lack of support from GCS adminstration. In one high school alone since 2017 an estimated 83+ teachers & staff have left.

·        Contreras is moving to implement policy that allows for ALL short term suspensions to have a formal appeals process, providing 2 levels of appeal, one to the School Support Officer and a final approval by the Superintendent or her designee.
**In addition, a student who violates Code of Conduct would NOT be immediately removed from class, school, activities, etc. until the formal appeals takes place and is heard (3 days). This allows for a student who has violated school rules and been disruptive to remain in class and in school without direct consequences.

IMPLEMENTING CONTRERAS’S NEW POLICY DOES THE FOLLOWING:

·        Undermines the authority of our Principals and Assistant Principals who work hard every single day to keep our schools safe and in order.
·        Gives her or her “designee” (NOT CLEAR AS TO WHO OR WHAT THIS WILL BE AS IT IS NOT DEFINED IN THE PROPOSED ADDENDUM) authority to have the final word on ALL suspension appeals
·        Allows her to continue to play the statistics game of lowering suspension rates at her discretion yet not keeping our schools safe 
·        Keeps disruptive kids in the classroom thus teaching them no consequences for misbehavior
·        Allows her to delete suspensions, at her discretion, via PowerSchool. This could ultimately lead to students, with mental health/violence issues, to be able to purchase guns in the future. Gives Police, FBI, Colleges and employers no alerts of an issue the student may have.

Why you should care:

Fewer suspensions does not mean safer schools.  Our superintendent and board want us to believe that suspensions are due to racism and that gangs are not in our schools.  Suspensions are due to poor behavior regardless of race.  It means there are students in the classroom that create a fearful and stressful environment which in turns hurts the students that want to learn.  It is imperative to understand one point…decreasing the racial-suspension gap only widens the academic achievement gap. 

Instead, we should all be asking Superintendent Contrares what programs she has implemented within our schools that would actually help our youth and give them tangible hands-on support that begins EARLY before middle and high school and continues as needed. All GCS students and staff deserve better.

GCS SCHOOLS HAVE TWO PRIORITIES…TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN AND TO DO IT IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT…GCS FAILS TO ACHIEVE BOTH AND IS ABOUT TO MAKE IT WORSE.

In the article written by Hans Bader in February 2019 called “Is the Racial Gap in Suspensions Due to Racism?” he states:
“Amundson called for reducing suspensions of “students of color.” But that could harm innocent African-Americans by reducing their ability to learn and be safe. After all, much violence is black-on-black, and when a black student constantly disrupts class, that harms black classmates’ ability to learn. After suspensions were curbed in New York City, the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden found that “schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst” effects on school climate and safety. Indeed, the harm from curbing suspensions had “a disparate impact by race and socioeconomic status.” Eden noted in the New York Post that another “study by a University of Georgia professor found that efforts to decrease the racial-suspension gap actually increase the racial achievement gap.” Joshua Kinsler found that “in public schools with discipline problems, it hurts those innocent African American children academically to keep disruptive students in the classroom,” and “cutting out-of-school suspensions in those schools widens the black-white academic achievement gap.”  To read the article in its entirety, go to: https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/racial-gap-suspensions-due-racism

This story has already been told in Syracuse NY.  If you are interested to see the result, please web-search Sharon Contreras and Syracuse Schools.  You will understand why the Syracuse Teachers Association had a “no confidence” vote in Sharon Contreras as Superintendent.

Most importantly, if you web-search The Broward County Schools in Florida you will see that the GCS playbook is not much different than the Broward County School’s playbook that created an environment where their was a mass-murder of 17 people.  If interested in doing more research, read about the Parkland Shooting in the book “Why Meadow Died”.

Take Back Our Schools – GCS is a group of citizens in Guilford County NC who believe in quality public education for ALL and are working to insure that GCS Superintendent and Board of Education are listening and taking action to our concerns.

Students, teachers, administrators, bus drivers and staff are leaving our public schools. There are few qualified substitutes to fill in for staff when needed. Not enough qualified teachers to teach our upper level classes. More nurses and mental health counselors are needed to help those students deal with their lives and personal issues. We are missing the mark and not getting help to those that need it most. These issues are not okay and we will not allow it to continue to happen! EVERY child has the right to a quality education in a healthy, safe learning environment that meets their needs, regardless of where they live.  

We understand the difficulties of standing up when your job depends on it. We have chosen to stand up for them ALL.

Join the movement. Any questions send to: takebackourschools.gcs@gmail.com

 



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