Should 5- to 8-year-olds be kicked out of school for behavior violations? A Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board committee will start discussing that question Wednesday, when it will review data on disciplinary actions against K-2 students.
Board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart has suggested that the board consider banning out-of-school suspensions for the youngest students. In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and across the country, black male students are far more likely than white counterparts to face suspension for “judgment call” offenses such as insubordination or failing to follow school rules.
CMS has been training staff in techniques to defuse confrontations and disciplinary strategies that offer alternatives to suspension. The district saw suspensions fall last year, but its suspension rate remains above the state average. And black students, who accounted for 40 percent of CMS enrollment last school year, received 79 percent of the short-term suspensions.
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The board’s Policy Committee will discuss Ellis-Stewart’s proposal and eventually decide whether to recommend policy changes to the full board.
For most of the past year, that committee has been focused on a review of student assignment, but that’s not on this week’s agenda, said committee Chairman Tom Tate.
Wednesday’s meeting, which is open to the public, runs from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 527 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.
The panel will also discuss adding a student adviser to the board and rules for remote participation in meetings.