Arresting students from school is often ineffective and even counterproductive. In many cases, behaviors for which students are arrested could be prevented through earlier intervention or handled more effectively with school based sanctions that address the true source of misbehavior. While rates of student arrest have declined in recent years:
· Nearly 1 in 10 student arrests in 2013 were for “school policy violations,” such as use of profanity and cell phone use
· Black students were arrested 4.7 times and Hispanic students 3.1 times more than white students
· Special education students were arrested 3.0 times more often than regular education students
· Students in the poorest urban districts were arrested nearly 23 times more often than students in wealthier districts.
Two school discipline bills that will be having a hearing on Wednesday Feb 25th – HB 6834 AN ACT CONCERNING COLLABORATION BETWEEN BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS. and HB 6837 AN ACT ENCOURAGING A GRADUATED RESPONSE MODEL FOR STUDENT DISCIPLINE. We are supportive of both bills and would encourage you to either submit written testimony or to testify in person to make your support known. To submit written testimony, please send your testimony to EDTestimony@cga.ct.gov by February 24, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. To testify in person, please sign up at 11:00 AM at the Legislative Office Building. Be in touch with Edie Joseph at email@example.com to coordinate.
Both bills define school-based arrest, require that arrest data be made public, and require that districts with school resource officers have a memorandum of agreement between the school board and local law enforcement agency. These are the reforms we have been supporting for years, and we are confident this is the year they will pass!
In your testimony, we suggest that you support the following elements of the bills:
· Memorandums of agreement (MOAs) between schools and police that will help ensure that students are disciplined fairly and equitably.
· A uniform definition of school arrest to promote transparency and accountability.
· The disaggregation of arrest data (by race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and ELL status) to understand the disparities by which students of color and students with disabilities are disciplined in order to reduce them.
Attached please find a fact sheet on school discipline and Connecticut Voices for Children’s Testimony on a very similar bill from last year.
For more information reach out to Edie Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org 203-498-4240 ext. 114.