Vice Chairwoman Edmonson asks for review of state’s student suspension rules
Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson wants the state Department of Education to review the student suspension policy that keeps students off school grounds.
Vice Chairwoman Edmonson championed a resolution, adopted by the County Commission on May 15, 2012, that calls for the department to review its out-of-school suspension law which allows school districts to adopt their own in-school and outdoor suspension policies.
Outdoor suspensions temporarily remove a student from all classes and school-sponsored activities held on school grounds and makes parents responsible for the suspended student and his or her school work. In contrast, in-school suspension places the student in an alternative program under supervision of school district personnel. The student remains on school grounds and still has access to required course work, teacher input and adult guidance.
"I believe that while students who misbehave in school should be subject to disciplinary consequences they should also remain on school grounds and not wander the streets during school hours," Vice Chairwoman Edmonson said. "Had Trayvon Martin been suspended under the in-school suspension rules, we might have avoided a tremendous tragedy."
According to data collected by the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights, minority students face harsher school discipline and African-American boys are far more likely to be suspended or expelled than their peers. The newest data available from a 2009 public schools survey shows African-American students make up 18 percent of the sample population but 35 percent of the total who are suspended at least once and 39 percent who are expelled.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent recently empanelled an ad hoc committee to review the Code of Student Conduct, including out-of-school and in-school suspensions.