Dayton Racial Justice Group Requests End To Suspensions For Young Students

May 20, 2014

The group Racial Justice Now! (RJN) will return to the Dayton Public School Board meeting Tuesday evening to follow-up on a request that the district stop out-of-school suspensions for preschool through 3rd grade students. RJN presented its initial request at last month’s board meeting.

University of Dayton Professor of Law Emeritus Vernellia Randall says the group will present  a petition with more than 14oo signatures.

Randall said their purpose was to “let [the school board] know that it’s not just a few people interested in this issue, and so we... want to present the results at this point." The petition will run through June.

The group collected the signatures from around the state through a website, and they also gathered signatures from parents of children in Dayton Schools. RJN is also asking Dayton Schools to look at more "restorative justice" initiatives as an alternative to removing students from classrooms.

Following last month’s board meeting, Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Lori Ward said the board was looking into the request.

"How much does it cost to actually implement a sound restorative justice program," she asked, "and how would [we] then phase it into the district?"

Ward said there are other governing principles the district would need to look at as well.

“If you look at discipline, there are just infractions that we have to have a certain action, as defined by law," she said. The school board is expected to issue their findings and respond by mid-to-late June.