David Hinojosa, J.D.

Civil Rights in Student Discipline – Podcast Episode 158 | Classnotes Podcast 158

Classnotes Podcast (November 30, 2015) Stories of school discipline going too far circulate social media and the news cycle pretty regularly these days, such as the video from Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. Millions of children are being removed from classrooms for increasingly minor behavioral issues. While school officials have a responsibility to keep the school learning environment safe, the data show widespread discrimination in school discipline that puts student civil rights and learning at risk.

According to the Office for Civil Rights, Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. Harsh punishments are disproportionately used on children of color, low-income children, children with disabilities, and LGBT youth. These practices discourage children from attending school and increase the risk of students dropping out.

David Hinojosa, J.D., director of the federally-funded IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, gives an overview of the civil rights protections that are in place, the negative impact of many school discipline practices and points to resources available to schools and teachers. David is interviewed by Laurie Posner, MPA, IDRA’s Director of Civic Engagement.

Show length: 13:56

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School Discipline Gone South – The Call for Restoration
By Laurie Posner, MPA, IDRA Newsletter, August 2014

Data Snapshot: School Discipline
Issue Brief No. 1 (March 2014), by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

Suspended Childhood – An Analysis of Exclusionary Discipline of Texas’ Pre-K and Elementary School Students
By Texas Appleseed, 2015

Rethinking Discipline
U.S. Department of Education guidance letter and resources for parents and school communities.

Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas – A 2009 Update
By Albert Cortez & Josie D. Cortez, IDRA, 2009

Sent Home and Put Off-Track: The Antecedents, Disproportionalities, and Consequences of Being Suspended in the Ninth Grade
By R. Balfanz & V. J. Fox Byrnes, The Civil Rights Project, December 21, 2012

Closing the School Discipline Gap: Equitable Remedies for Excessive Exclusion
Daniel Losen of the The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project (CRP/CCRR) looks at disciplinary policies and practices in school that result in disparities, and provides remedies that may be enacted at federal, state, and district levels, January 24, 2015

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Show Notes

  • David gives an overview of rights and protections that students have under federal, state and local law.

  • David talks about the IDRA researching showing growth in suspensions for minor behavioral issues.

  • Citing the recent incident at a South Carolina high school, Laurie asks David about the trends showing disparate disciplinary treatment against students of color and students with disabilities.

  • David explains the corresponding impact that this disciplinary action has on student achievement.

  • David considers the benefits and limits of restorative practices, and outlines the requirements for successfully implementing these programs in school districts.

  • David explains how teachers’ own “implicit bias” can influence their classroom conduct and lead them to making unduly harsh disciplinary decisions against students.

  • David talks about available resources for learning more about school disciplinary policies and practices, as well as related training opportunities.