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What comes to your mind when you think of school discipline? Do you imagine being sent to the principal’s office with the possibility of afterschool or Saturday detention? Or is it what thousands of children have faced each and everyday – being taken out of class and sent home for suspensions lasting for three or more days greater.

The UCLA Civil Rights Project ranked Missouri at No. 1 in the country for the largest gap in how elementary schools suspend black students compared to white students. In secondary education, the state ranks fourth.

An incident between a South Carolina school resource officer and student is among the stories and issues continuing to bring school discipline to the forefront for federal and state officials, education experts, parents and even students.

 

A3. No actual learning objectives in discipline policies, ever. #AmGradSTL

— Alexander Cuenca (@alexandercuenca) October 22, 2015

 

A9: Must ask ourselves important question: What is the intent of discipline? To punish? Or to restore student's ability to learn? #AmGradSTL

— Andrea M. Hawkman (@ahawk12) October 22, 2015

 

At the core of this debate is the disproportionate suspension rates of minority students compared to their white counterparts.

Nine Network of Public Media in partnership with Focus St. Louis and St. Louis Public Radio hosted a town hall in late October over school discipline in the region. Conversations with administrators, teachers and students around the issue helped form and shape the townhall discussion, which are featured on the next pages.

 

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