The ACLU of Delaware, Network Delaware, Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow and other community partners have teamed up with the Red Clay School District to offer a training series on an important issue: school discipline.

School discipline practices are a key factor in the success or failure of school-aged children, but this issue is often overlooked in discussions about student success. The reality is that repeated suspensions are ineffective tools for changing students’ behavior. Further, these harsh punishments disproportionately impact African American and special education students, who are already some of our most vulnerable school-age population.

In 2018, the 149th General Assembly passed a bill that will begin to address the systemic problems with our school’s current discipline practices. SB 85, the School Discipline Bill, requires greater transparency, requires action by schools with excessive and/or disparate levels of out-of-school suspensions and encourages alternatives by shifting the focus from a punitive to a restorative approach to discipline. Gov. John Carney signed this bill into law in July 2018.

In an effort to help schools comply with this new law and reform common school discipline practices, ACLU-DE and other community organizations have teamed up with the Red Clay School District to offer a training on Fair Discipline — a restorative approach to school discipline.

This training will give families and educators all the tools they need to assist with the development of their school’s corrective action discipline plan as required under the new law. Training participants will learn what should be included in a fair discipline plan so that the plans address the root causes of high-suspension rates and identify school-specific remedies.

The trainings will be available in-person and online for both families and educators. In-person trainings offer a stipend for participation. For in-person training information, email Shannon Griffin, at sgriffin@aclu-de.org. To access the trainings online, visit aclu-de.org and click the “Fair Discipline Online Toolkit” menu option.