SPOKANE, Wash. -- KREM 2 checked back in on a Spokane Public Schools program to reduce the number of suspensions. There has been a slight increase in the first 60 days of this school year, still the numbers are down overall from previous year.
About two years ago Spokane Public School leaders began focusing more on using restorative practices to deal with students with behavior issues.
"A student owns the behavior and is held accountable to their behavior and looks to try to repair the harm that they may have caused,” said Shawn Jordan, Director of Secondary Programs and Special Services.
Instead of suspending or expelling a student, perhaps they will do community service, do some mediation or do in-school suspension.
"Still holding the student accountable for their behavior, but aren't necessarily removing them from their educational experience,” said Jordan.
The idea is to keep students in school. Each month the school district posts discipline reports on their website. It tracks the number of suspensions, arrests and incidents involving students. A recent report shows in the first 60 days of school a slight increase in exclusionary consequences compared to that time last years. These include any type of consequences that would keep a student out of school for a period of time. Last year there were 969, this year there have been 1,191. However, both years are down from the two years prior.
Jordan said overall the number of suspensions are down compared to other years and they want to continue to reduce that number.
"Whenever we look at data and we are paying attention to our data, we can't look at it and draw conclusions with just one particular moment in time. We really need to look at a trend over time,” said Jordan. "I would say the trend over the three, four years we are seeing improvements in how we are dealing with behavior, but we are still a long ways away from where we want to be."