May 25, 2005
By ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer
The Hartford school system must find a solution to a burgeoning
number of student suspensions throughout the system, members
of the West End Civic Association's youth council said Tuesday.
The group met in a rally Tuesday afternoon at Hartford Public
High School to protest figures showing that city schools had
14,634 suspensions last year, up from 9,867 a year earlier, a
48 percent increase. The suspensions included students at all
grade levels, including pre-kindergarten.
"We've been working on the suspension issue for over a
year," Jennifer Hadlock, an organizer with the youth council,
said earlier Tuesday. "We're trying to get the board of
education to make it a priority. ... We feel this is an emergency."
The sharp rise in suspensions
is largely a result of "zero
tolerance policies and a lack of alternatives" to suspension,
The organization wants Superintendent of Schools Robert Henry
to support alternatives such as creating in-school suspension
rooms, assigning a staff member at every school to focus on discipline
and providing classroom management training to teachers and administrators.
Those ideas are among recommendations under consideration by
a committee on discipline formed late last year by Henry.
The school system is awaiting the final recommendations of that
committee, but the superintendent agrees that something must
be done to reduce the number of suspensions, said Terry D'Italia,
a spokesman for the school district.
"He is as concerned about the rising number of suspensions
as anybody," D'Italia said.
"We're also waiting for
the school budget to be approved so we can make a determination
about which of these recommendations we can afford to implement."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at