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36 percent drop in school suspensions at Chicago Public Schools

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Updated: March 9, 2014 6:18AM

A revised Chicago Public Schools student code of conduct has led to a 36 percent drop in school suspensions over the past several school years, CPS officials said Friday.

“We know that suspensions cut into instructional time, and keep our students out of the classroom,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement.

“The Student Code of Conduct that we implemented brought great results — a 36 percent decline in suspensions — and gave our students the support they needed while keeping them in school and learning.”

In 2012, CPS changed its student code of conduct to limit disciplinary actions that took kids out of the classroom. The new code of conduct encourages school staffers to develop alternative strategies and options for dealing with disciplinary issues, including conflict resolution techniques, anger coping therapy and intervention programs.

So far this school year, there’s been 14,587 out-of-school suspensions. Last school year at this time there had been 16,205 out-of-school suspensions. In the 2010-2011 school year at this time there had been 22,797.

“We believe this is a work in progress and there’s still more work to do,” said Aarti Dhupelia, CPS’ chief of college and career success. “We still have a large number of suspensions.”

The Chicago Teachers Union is concerned the numbers aren’t telling the real story.

Jackson Potter, the CTU’s staff coordinator, questioned the dramatic drop in suspensions.

“You can’t expect a decrease in student discipline without providing the essential supports to make the transition possible,” he said, referring to adding social workers or training.


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