Wed December 19, 2012
Stakeholders discuss revised 'code of conduct' for Buffalo schools
Buffalo schools are again grappling with the issues of student conduct and suspensions. A discussion of the proposed code of conduct was held at McKinley High School Tuesday night, the first in a series of public meetings on the plan.
Student conduct and suspensions have been an issue in city schools for years. With new state rules and problematic graduation rates, the issues have surged to the forefront.
Every day, 41 students are suspended. One young student who was sent home last year was murdered at a bus stop on his way home.
Now, the district is rolling out a new code of conduct and new rules for pushing kids out of the classroom, proposals which are getting cautious support. The code is essentially a set of rules for student behavior in city schools and what punishments can be given.
Because suspensions are almost universally regarded as damaging a student's chances of education and graduation, the district is moving from out-of-school suspensions to some form of alternative classes in school and providing support to deal with possible problems which lead to bad behavior.
"Kids, for as long as we can remember in public education, have brought challenges to the school house. That's why we're here, to redirect those challenges and change the hearts of children. That's what our jobs are. So, I certainly see the glass half full, not half empty, in Buffalo and I see that we're really on the verge of having one of the most progressive, thoughtful codes of conduct in the country," said Associate Superintedent Will Keresztes.
Parent Jean Dillashaw says bad student behavior hampers the education of other students and affects her own son Jeffrey.
"He tells me all the time that he's trying to get on track and his kids are noisy and rowdy. Last year he used to tell me he that couldn't get through his classes because there were kids in the back that were just disrespectful," said Dillashaw.
Activist groups Citizen Action and the Alliance for Quality Education say the new proposals are a good start.