Seattle Suspends Suspensions For Elementary Students

The Seattle public school board voted to stop out-of-school suspensions for elementary school kids for the rest of the school year.

By Samantha Crook | September 24, 2015

School suspensions are getting suspended. Seattle's public school board voted to stop elementary school suspensions punishing nonviolent behavior for the rest of the school year.

"It's a step forward for all of us. And if we're looking at closing our achievement gap, this is a step closer to what we need to do," Betty Patu said.

According to one school board member, decreasing suspensions has been talked about for decades in the city. In fact, the issue has been debated in other cities and nationally too.

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The U.S. Department of Education reported that 3.45 million students were suspended out of school in the 2012 school year. (Video via U.S. Department of Education)

Last year, the Obama administration led a campaign to reform school discipline. The initiative pointed out students of color and students with disabilities receive more out-of-school suspensions and linked suspension to the school-to-prison pipeline. (Video via CBS)

"When we suspend and expel, we don't deal with the root cause [of behavioral issues in school]; we avoid it. And we may actually be exacerbating the problems. And so the easy thing to do is to put the kid out in the streets," Arne Duncan told CNN.

According to the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, national K-12 suspension rates shot up between the 1970s and the early 2000s, leveling in the most recent available data. (Video via U.S. Department of Education)

The center released an analysis earlier this year and found suspension rates varied a lot between districts, and some districts have even seen reduced suspension rates in recent years.

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