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Rise In Suspensions Protested

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, Hadlock said.

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 http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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