School Board Response to MDHR
Recently, the St. Cloud Daily Times carried a story about efforts by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to place more than three dozen school districts and charter schools under a form of voluntary supervision to reduce what the Department regards as disparate imposition of discipline. The Department of Human Rights is concerned that different rates of discipline might not be entirely justified, but might rather result from bias.
On Wednesday night, April 11, the Board of Education reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining safe, disruption-free schools. The Board has rejected a standard agreement proposed by the Department that would place the District and dozens of other districts under supervision. The Board remains committed to maintaining local control over standards of behavior.
Here are the main points of the District’s stance in discussions with MDHR:
- Safe Schools: High Behavioral Standards. The Board and District Leadership remain committed to our efforts to assure parents, students and staff a safe school environment that is conducive to learning. We will not take any action that compromises that goal.
- Non-Exclusionary Discipline when Consistent with Safe Schools. The Board and District have been implementing proactive disciplinary practices that maximize the ability to keep young people in school. Our goal is to reduce time out of school without sacrificing safety. The Board has strongly signaled that it is not willing to compromise safety and high standards of behavior.
- Same Standard of Behavior for all Students. Our goal to keep children in school applies to students of all races, gender, disability, and ethnicity. We will not have different standards for different groups of students. We will use best practices to provide support to students so that they can function effectively in school.
Finally, several people have asked us whether the MDHR concerns will result in a relaxation of disciplinary standard or support for staff and teachers. It will not. We are always on the lookout for ways to keep kids in school with the proper supports. However, the Board and Superintendent have firmly committed to maintain high standards of behavior for all students.