Count All Students, Commit to All Students

Oct 13, 2010, 17:00 ET from Public Counsel

As School Districts Prepare to Count Enrollment, South Los Angeles Alliance Calls for Implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support to Stem "Pushout" Crisis

Parents and Advocates Spotlight Recently Released Human Rights Report Revealing Widespread

Non-Compliance with Mandatory Policy in South Los Angeles Schools

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign's National Week of Action to End School Pushout, the members of this alliance, CADRE (Community Asset Development Re-defining Education), Public Counsel, and Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS), are dialing up attention on the problem of rampant school "pushout" and the fact that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a very viable solution in its hands – if it would only fully implement the mandatory School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Policy (SWPBS Policy) that it passed in March 2007.

"Norm day is Friday.  We want the District to not just count all of our kids, we want the District to commit to all of our kids, especially the children who are struggling in school and need extra help.   LAUSD must take action," says Roslyn Broadnax, South LA parent and member of CADRE.  "If LAUSD immediately puts a full faith effort into implementing its SWPBS Policy, ten months from now we believe there will be more students still in school with an opportunity to learn."

Nationwide schools fully implementing SWPBS have seen up to a 60% reduction in disciplinary problems and out-of-school suspensions; secondary benefits include reduced dropout rates, improved academic achievement, higher teacher retention, and a more positive school culture.

The alliance's recently released publication, Redefining Dignity in Our Schools: A Shadow Report on School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Implementation in South Los Angeles, 2007-2010(1), shows that LAUSD's failure to fully implement the SWPBS Policy in South Los Angeles has resulted in unacceptably high suspension rates and disproportionate numbers of students of color being  removed from school.   Yesterday, alliance members testified at the school board meeting, demanding that the LAUSD School Board hold the District and all Local District Superintendents and Principals strictly responsible for immediately implementing the SWPBS Policy.

The alliance has been meeting with South LA Local District 7 Superintendent Dr. George McKenna, who has expressed willingness to confront the report's findings, indicating that "LD7 is committed to full implementation of SWPBS guidelines in all schools.  We are also pleased to work with CADRE, Public Counsel, and MHAS to more effectively respond to student conduct issues and reduce the rate and number of suspensions by establishing specific goals and guidelines that are more supportive of staff, parents and students.  Trainings in SWPBS and LD7 Student Standards of Conduct guidelines have been held for all LD7 School Discipline Teams during the past three weeks and we will continue to monitor and support the implementation of school based activities."

The report comes at a time when school exclusionary discipline rates are the highest in the nation's history.  Among other things, the report reveals that African American students in South LA continue to be disproportionately subjected to exclusionary discipline, making up 47% of suspensions, while only comprising 18.9% of the student population.  

(1) Full-length report and executive summary available at http://www.dignityinschools.org/content/report-redefining-dignity-our-schools; complete data tables available at http://www.mhas-la.org/RedefiningDignityReportData/DataHome.htm.

SOURCE Public Counsel



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