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Washington Examiner: Uniform school discipline is not the answer

September 23, 2012

In a news story and local editorial on suspension and expulsions at public charter schools, The Examiner quotes Children’s Law Center executive director Judith Sandalow.

Public charter schools recently released data on the number of students who were subject to disciplinary action, particularly suspensions and expulsions. Because each charter school sets is own discipline policy, the rates of suspensions vary dramatically between schools, with some schools suspending more than half of their students last year. 

“Suspension, and definitely expulsion, is always a sign of a school’s failure to solve problems for a child,” executive director Judith Sandalow told Lisa Gartner, education reporter for The Examiner for a story published Sunday, Sept. 23. “We want them in class, learning. Behaviors that are causing suspension should be seen as symptoms of a disease, and you need to find the right cure for the disease, not just treat the symptoms.”

A local editorial in The Examiner repeated this quote, and agreed that schools can be too quick with suspensions or expulsions, but defended charter schools’ autonomy to make those discipline decisions.