Charlotte, NC: Pre-K to 2nd grade suspensions being reduced; more therapists to be added

Aug 9, 2017, Charlotte Observer: Suspending a CMS first-grader is about to get harder. Here’s why. It’s going to be harder for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools principals to suspend 4- to 8-year-olds this school year, after the school board approved a last-minute compromise policy that requires the superintendent’s sign-off. Board members have spent more than a year wrangling over whether to ban out-of-school suspension of children in prekindergarten through second grade. No one’s happy about the fact that the district logs roughly 1,000 suspensions a year in that age range (the district has about 33,000 students in those grades). Many in the community are concerned that black boys bear the brunt of those suspensions, and say that can start them on a path that leads through school failure to prison and poverty. …Ellis-Stewart insisted on a moratorium on preK-2 suspensions, while Jones said schools need the flexibility to remove truly disruptive children who threaten their classmates’ safety and create classroom chaos. … Mecklenburg County is paying for therapists to be stationed in several schools, where they can help children and families cope with trauma or mental illness. The school board had hoped to add 60 new counselors, social workers and psychologists this year, but only got money for 12 new positions.