Tell Your Representative: Pass School Discipline Reform

Act Now

Despite the passage of important legislation in 2016 to reduce the use of out-of-school suspensions in RI schools, the discipline data for many districts still show alarming disparities for both students of color and students with disabilities, and shocking rates of suspension for the youngest students in grades K-5. This critical piece of legislation, H5234, would largely eliminate out-of-school suspensions for K-5 students and promote transparency by strengthening discipline reporting requirements for school districts. In the 2018-2019 school year alone, over 1,400 out-of-school suspensions were given to K-5 students, resulting in a cumulative loss of over 2,100 instructional days for these young kids.

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Data for nearly every RI school district shows a disparity in out-of-school suspensions for students of color, students with disabilities, or both. A number of districts also reported alarming rates of suspension for K-5 students. What’s more, not a single district has EVER submitted a report to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, as provided by law, that outlines a plan to combat these discriminatory suspension practices. Clearly, more must be done to address these persistent, pernicious problems in our state education system.

I am counting on you to pass H5234 so RI can better address this critical problem within our education system and protect young children from the school-to-prison pipeline.


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