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SBCSC will revise controversial policies after community opposition

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

At Monday’s meeting, the school board decided to table two controversial new policies until they are reworked so the community is comfortable with.

The two policies are state mandated, but the board still has to pass them. Many community advocates have spoken up in opposition of them, fearing the policies will put black students at a disadvantage.

Policy 5610 deals with student suspensions and expulsions. It requires they be reported to the BMV, who could then take away a student’s driver’s license.

Policy 5840 addresses the way staff is to respond to criminal organizations. Regardless of whether or not they are trained to know what to look out for, all staff are required to report anything they think is suspicious.

“The disproportionate number of black suspensions and expulsions clearly feeds in to the school to prison pipeline,” says Dr. Darryl Heller, Director of Civil Rights Heritage Center

Dr. Heller was asked by the school to speak at the meeting during the Superintendent’s Announcements.

“I think those policies were removed because of community action. I think having those community members come out, speak out and demand it and insist they be removed, prompted the board to address that issue and we hope they stay removed,” says Dr. Heller.

Superintendent Dr. Ken Spells says moving forward he wants to find a compromise that the community will be happy with that still follows the state’s mandate.

“This policy is new to me too, so I’m making sure that I have a grasp on it. Making sure that we touch all our legal basis and that we have a policy that’s representative of our community,” says Dr. Spells.

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