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A Q & A With Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks at a town hall event at Pembroke Pines Charter High School in 2012.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was in South Florida Thursday to attend the national Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale. He chatted with StateImpact Florida about school discipline, testing requirements and how Congress is rewriting the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Q: We are currently in the midst of a national conversation about [...]

Miami-Dade Schools Eliminating Out-Of-School Suspensions

Posters advertise new Miami-Dade County school choice programs.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools plan to eliminate out-of-school suspensions this year, preferring to keep kids in class and address behavior problems. School districts around the country have made similar decisions because research and experience shows suspended students often find more trouble outside of school while on suspension. That can mean more neighborhood crime – and [...]

South Florida School Leaders Join White House Discipline Summit

Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie shared lessons learned at a White House summit on student discipline.

South Florida school leaders traveled to Washington Wednesday to share ideas on how to reduce on-campus arrests and suspensions. Superintendents from Broward County and Miami-Dade County shared how their districts dealt with the problem at a summit hosted by the White House. Research shows that students who are suspended before 9th grade are less likely [...]

Study: Florida Schools Should End Corporal Punishment

Two University of Florida researchers say Florida should join other states which have outlawed corporal punishment to discipline students. Florida is one of 20 states which allows schools to spank or paddle misbehaving students. Twenty-six of the state’s 67 districts allow corporal punishment. Some districts require a parent’s approval, others do not. UF education professors [...]

Marion County School Board Reverses Course On Paddling Students

Marion County’s school board has eliminated corporal punishment of students — just one year after the board reinstated physical discipline. School board member Ron Crawford said public reaction to last year’s decision was overwhelming, Joe Callahan with the Ocala Star-Banner reports: The reversal was led by School Board member Ron Crawford, who last year cast [...]

Interview: Rethinking Zero Tolerance Discipline Policies In Florida Public Schools

Some districts are reconsidering zero tolerance.

In many schools, zero tolerance discipline policies dictate harsh punishment—expulsion, suspension and arrest—for breaking rules. But, as StateImpact Florida has been reporting, some districts are reconsidering zero tolerance over concerns about a rise in the number of children arrested on campus. One of those districts walking away from zero tolerance is in Broward County, where the schools formed a [...]

Broward County School Board Signs Agreement Aimed At Reducing On-Campus Arrests

The Broward County School board teamed up with a group of community partners this month to sign a collaborative agreement on school discipline. The agreement, first of its kind, establishes new guidelines for handling non-violent misdemeanor offenses on school campuses, outlining when law enforcement is necessary and when problems can be handled through school resources. [...]

To Thwack Or Not To Thwack; Corporal Punishment Is Not Just Florida’s Dilemma

paddle hin255

Florida is on a shrinking list of states that still allow corporal punishment in schools. Education Week’s Alyssa Morones looked at how states are grappling with corporal punishment: Even as an increasing number of districts and states abolish the practice, corporal punishment remains a legal form of discipline in 19 states, most of them in [...]

How School Zero Tolerance Rules Turn Bad Behavior Into A Crime

Ernest Saunders with his son Malcolm Calvert, 17, who was arrested for battery when he hit his friend with a lollipop.

Malcolm Calvert was in 7th grade when he got into an argument with his 6th grade friend on a school bus and hit him with a Tootsie Pop. 

“I hit him with it on his head,” recalls Malcolm, who was a student at Lanier James Alternative School in Hallandale Beach, Fla., when the Tootsie Pop incident happened in 2011. “They handcuffed me and took me off the school bus.”

The Florida Districts Most Likely to Seclude Or Restrain Students

Leon County schools were most likely to seclude students last year, while Orange and Hillsborough county schools restrained students most often.

Leon County schools led the state in the number of students put into seclusion for behavior or safety reason in 2012, according to Florida Department of Education data. Leon County schools used seclusion almost twice as often as the next district on the list, Pinellas County schools. Orange and Hillsborough county schools were most likely [...]

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