By Megan Burks
Californians Question School Discipline Policies in Wake of New Data
A study out this week says 4 out of 5 Californians support amending school discipline policies so they do a better job of keeping students in school. The study comes as more and more groups are speaking up about harsh school discipline policies that do little to remediate kids and help them succeed.
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows 400,000 students were removed from California classrooms for suspension at least once during the 2009-2010 school year.
According to The California Endowment, that means six students are thrown out of school every minute. In districts where more suspensions occur, nearly 1 in 4 students are forced to leave school for poor behavior.
Often their offenses are minor or vague—for a dress code violation or acting up. And often, the students being sent home are already at risk of dropping out.
A report by UC Los Angeles says African-American males with disabilities are most likely to be suspended in the state’s harshest districts. Researchers and activists say this pattern feeds directly into the “prison pipeline,” noting that men of color are disproportionately represented in California’s criminal justice system and more likely to end up there if they drop out of school.
To help reverse this, the Endowment announced a $1 million fund to help school districts that want to work on their discipline policies. Grants, training and other support will be available this fall.
The nonprofit has also been releasing stacks of informational media, including the video below and an online rally that features videos submitted by students.
Follow The California Endowment’s school discipline campaign @CalEndow_SCHOOL.
McDonalds Fundraiser Honors Jeremy Henwood
The San Diego Police Officers Association teamed up with the City Heights McDonald’s Wednesday to raise funds in honor of Jeremy Henwood.
Henwood was killed in the line of duty last year, just blocks from the fast food restaurant. He captured the hearts of mourners locally and nationally after Speak City Heights revealed his final act of kindness. Just minutes before being shot, he sat down with 13-year-old Daveon Tinsley to share some McDonald’s cookies and impart words of advice.
“He told me, ‘Hard work in life will do you well,’” Tinsley told me.
This week’s fundraiser raised $6,000 to benefit widows and orphans of fallen officers, said James Nemec of the association. McDonald’s donated 10 percent of its proceeds from the day. Community members also donated directly to the fund.
See video of the event by KFMB Channel 8 here.
Follow the KFMB Channel 8 @CBS8.
MTS Wants Your Input
The Metropolitan Transit System is flush with cash for the first time in years and it’s ready to spend. It wants riders to help it decide where to spend the money, collected from increased revenues and the restoration of state transit funding cut by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Residents can attend public meetings scheduled today and tomorrow, or take an online survey, leave a voicemail or send an email through April 20. MTS will present the input to its board of directors May 17.
Already on the table is improving bus frequencies along routes 1, 7, 10, 13, 15 and 955. In an email to residents, Randy Van Vleck of the City Heights Community Development Corporation proposed adding new stops or better bike racks on buses.
Selected improvements are scheduled for September, with more coming in January if revenues remain high.
Follow MTS @sdmts.
[Disclosure: Speak City Heights is funded by the California Endowment, but operates as an independent, nonpartisan news collaborative.]