Pre-school discipline addressed at local meeting

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - A grass roots group is challenging the Dayton School District asking for a restructuring of its suspension process.  The social justice organization, Racial Justice, Now! sent a proposal to the district, concerned about the numbers of students who are suspended.

Thursday night, the group met with parents and teachers at the Dayton Boys Preparatory, talking about how too much discipline affects very young students.

Racial Justice, Now! member, Dr. Vernelia Randall said one of the things that is happening is students coming out of pre-school are expected to do what was taught in kindergarten. She added that bad behavior at the pre-school level is attributed to academically pushing little ones too far, too soon.

Licensed counselor, Dr. Carol Jaxson-Jager said she didn’t understand why 3-year-olds are being taught math skills when they are developmentally not ready to be in that setting.

Hashim Jabar was often suspended or charged with detentions. Much of that, he said, is because he was bored.

Two years ago, the Dayton School District got involved in the Restorative Justice Program which uses alternative means of discipline in order to cut the number of suspensions.  Julie McGlaun said the first year using the method, suspensions were cut by 49% and this year, there is an 89 % reduction in suspensions.  “We are not afraid of conflict. It’s safer to move towards it rather than away from it. It’s how we have conversations, we let kids have a voice.”

The group will make another presentation to the Dayton School District May 20.

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