Out of school suspensions are down so far this year for CMS students in kindergarten through second grades, but racial disparities still exist. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials, there have only been 29 students suspended at those grade levels this school year, compared to 139 for the same period last year. But school officials say, 55 percent of the students suspended were African-American males.
Many school districts around the country have ended suspensions for students in the early grades to prevent them from being labeled trouble makers early on and having that stigma follow them throughout their education years.
Banning suspensions for the early grades has been discussed by CMS officials, but the CMS school board has decided not to do that at this time. The district is focusing on using a team of CMS professionals to target schools with a high number of suspensions and giving them extra support to deal with the problem. The school board is requiring the superintendent to more closely review suspensions involving kindergarten through second graders. In a press release school officials say since that policy was put in place, Superintendent Clayton Wilcox has reviewed six suspensions and approved four of them.
School officials say they want to make suspensions a last resort way of dealing with behavior issues and will provide additional training for school administrators so they can better determine when suspensions or other types of alternative measures are warranted.