Potential change in school policy could put certain students at a disadvantage

NOW: Potential change in school policy could put certain students at a disadvantage

At Monday’s SBCSC board meeting, people spoke out against several state mandated policies regarding student discipline.

“We basically want education not incarceration and if education is the key, then don’t lock us out,” said Nnenia Okereke, Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend.

The Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend wants two policies off the table.

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

“We still have our latchkey kids and older sibling parents so it’s important that they take care of their responsibilities outside of school and things come up,” said Okereke.

Policy 5840 addresses the way staff should deal with gangs. 

Regardless of their experience in childhood education or knowledge of organized crime, all staff are required to report anything they think is suspicious.

“Being targeted as a potential criminal based on the feeling states or assumptions of anybody from a teacher to a janitor in their school? It’s fallacious. It’s just not right,” said Dr. Gerrie Casey, Professor of Labor Studies at IUSB.

President Stanley Wruble says because the mandated policies are unfunded, there isn’t any punishment if the board chooses not to pass certain policies.

“The gang policy essentially requires the school corporation to step on the foot as if we are police trained in law enforcement and determine whether or not our students are in gangs. We don’t have specialized training for our teachers, our janitors, our building secretaries, principals and yet the state expects us to do that kind of work,” said Wruble.

A second reading will go before the school board at the March 20th meeting. If you cannot attend but want to tell the board what you think, you'll find their contact information by clicking here.

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