The Seattle School Board unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday, September 23, 2015, immediately placing a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for elementary grade students.
A district-wide plan will also be developed to further reduce out-of-school suspensions for all grades.
With the adoption of this resolution, elementary student behaviors that fall into the categories of disruptive conduct, rule-breaking and disobedience will no longer receive out-of-school suspensions. Additional support structures and services will be targeted to students and schools in need of support.
"If we're looking at closing our achievement gap, this is one step forward,"
said Board Director Betty Patu."
Helping Schools Fulfill the Moratorium
Board Director Harium Martin-Morris proposed the resolution, and called it a continuation of the progress Seattle Public Schools is making in creating a sense of belonging for students, in a positive school climate.
"What we're trying to do now, is systematize it," Martin-Morris said.
School staff throughout the district are participating in professional development in the areas of trauma-informed practice, social and emotional learning and restorative justice practices.
Recent SPS Discipline Data
Elementary Students Suspension Rates
During the 2014-15 school year, 111 elementary students were suspended for disruptive conduct, 10 for rule breaking and 25 for disobedience.
Overall Suspension Rates Across All Grades
Overall suspensions and expulsions have decreased by nearly two percent from 2013 to 2014. Discipline rates in Seattle Public Schools went down from 4.3 percent in 2013 to 3.4 percent in 2014.
According to the composition index that looks at student groupings of students and measures whether they are suspended at a rate proportionate to their representation in the total student population, student who identify as black or African American students have had the largest drop in suspensions/expulsions from 2013 to 2014 with a drop from 11.1 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent in 2014.
Seattle Public Schools Compared to Peer Washington State School Districts
The OSPI rate comparison of the state's four largest districts, show Seattle Public Schools has the lowest discipline rates. You can read more graduation and discipline data for the state on the OSPI webpage.