Report: Virginia schools are over issuing suspensions

Richmond, VA (WRIC) — The Legal Justice Aid Center’s JustChildren Program released a report Thursday that revealed how Virginia schools are over issuing out-of-schools suspensions.

The report states in the last school year (2014-2015) more than 126,000 out-of-school suspensions were given to 70,000 students across the state.

About one-fifth of the suspensions were given to students in pre-kindergarten and elementary school. Overall, a majority of the suspensions issued for non-violent offenses such as disrupting the classroom or disrespecting school authority, according to the Suspended Progress.

Annette Jackson said she’s the guardian for five of her grandchildren. She said one of her grandchildren is an honor student but has been suspended a number of times throughout elementary school due to her tone, and once was accused of being disruptive when she was trying to deal with a medical issue that the school is aware of.

“She gets put out of school, but how is a kid to learn when you consistently putting them out of school?” Jackson said.

Jackson said there are several infrastructural issues in state public schools including overcrowding in classrooms, large number of students living in poverty and low resources schools that only amplifies the problem.

Jackson believes disciplining students for non-violent offenses also adds fuel to the fire, because the kids will miss school for a number of days, fall behind in their school work, and as a result retaliate.

“If the teachers had more help,” Jackson said, “then the children could learn better and just have a little more patience with the child because they are there to learn.”

To find more on where your school district stands in this study, click here. 

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