DISD Parents Say Discipline Policy Favors Suspension

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If a student is suspended from school, odds are good that he or she said or did something to get in big trouble. But a group of parents in the Dallas Independent School District said that too many young people are finding themselves pulled out of class for minor offenses, and that needs to change.

“Our goal is to end the Dallas school-to-prison pipeline,” said Kelly Obazee with the Dallas Peace Center. She joined the coalition of parents, activists and community advocates on Thursday as they centered their focus on the Dallas school system, and a DISD discipline policy that they called too punitive and biased.

“My son was expelled for simply skipping down the hallway,” said one parent.

“I’ve heard stories from parents who say kids get suspended from school for having their belt be the wrong color,” said Bonnie Mathias with the Texas Organizing Project.

About 400 DISD students sit in alternative education programs after being tossed out of a regular neighborhood school.

Obazee said, “African American children, Latino children and special education children were being disproportionately and unfairly punished for minor incidents.” The coalition is now campaigning to move the DISD away from such punitive student suspensions.

A statement from the DISD regarding their discipline policy said, “State law requires that students who commit certain offenses be expelled and either sent to county facilities or the district’s alternative facilities. The district has made a concerted effort to reduce out of school suspensions.”

Protesters made their claims outside of Dallas County’s Juvenile Justice Center because, they said, too many kids were there and not in school. They plan to take their message to the Dallas Board of Education next week.

More from Steve Pickett

One Comment

  1. Rick McDaniel says:

    Parents just want bad behaviors excused. That isn’t really workable.

    Schools no longer have any way to act against bad behavior, in today’s schools, other than to suspend. That’s the bottom line.

  2. DISD teacher says:

    Sure, children are being suspended at high rates. Have you even visited a DISD school during the day? These kids are being suspended because they have no respect for authority and we, as teachers, are extremely limited in the manners in which we may discipline them.

    I could lose my job for physically restraining a child who is trying to fight another student– or even myself! I cannot protect myself from the violent children because parents want to cry abuse. Perhaps if the same parents complaining about their child being suspended for BREAKING THE RULES would teach their children to FOLLOW THE RULES and at least a basic respect for authority, there wouldn’t be a huge amount of student suspended or at the alternative schools.

    It is amazing how you guys are so quick to want to blame somebody else for bad kids. How about yall start taking responsibility and DISCIPLINING your children! It does take a village to raise a child– and in Dallas’ case, it is going to take the village, the neighboring village AND law enforcement to raise these poor things.

    Do you know we have parents EVERYDAY asking how to give up their rights to their children? These are children who are 12, 13, 14 years old. Their parents don’t want them anymore because “truancy court costs too much and I can’t make him go to school.” YES YOU CAN. Raise your child right and you won’t have this problem. And if you are only having children for the income tax check, please, sterilize yourself. You do not deserve children.

    You guys disgust me trying to blame teachers, especially teachers who are dedicated enough to stay in the Dallas school system. We are here to try and make a difference– if all we wanted was a paycheck and an easy day, we would move to Frisco and teach out there. At least out there we would have enough textbooks for each child and parents who were involved and children who, for the most part, knew better than to try and assault a teacher.

    The audacity of yall to complain because a child was suspended for being out of dress code. That is the point of having a rule– you do not follow it– guess what? There are repercussions. Speed down the highway? Get a ticket. Break a rule in school? Risk getting suspended.

    Take responsibility people.

  3. Julie James says:

    It may be that it started as a minor offense and esculated into a major offense because students do like to argue with authority and try to “prove their” point instead of just complying with the rules.
    It is also possible that the is a result of multiple “minor” offenses and the student is already on disiplinary probation when a so called “minor” offense occurs and results in suspension. There comes a point that continuing to just tell students not to do something and talking to them doesn’t work. School administration and teachers have the right to try to establish and maintain some order. Actually, they have an obligation to do so for the safety and education of the larger population.

  4. R Kirk says:

    Nearly all the DISD students, teachers and administrators are total losers. Finding a good one is like a needle in a haystack.

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