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Rochester strikes student discipline deal with state of Minnesota

Superintendent says there's been no finding of discrimination.

Posted: Sep. 6, 2018 12:11 PM
Updated: Sep. 6, 2018 12:17 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Rochester Public Schools has reached an agreement on student discipline policies with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The Board of Education approved the agreement, which the school district calls “a continuation of the district’s ongoing efforts to ensure that student discipline policies and procedures are applied fairly and equitably for all students,” on Tuesday

Superintendent Michael Muñoz says reaching this deal was complicated by Rochester Public Schools existing resolution agreement with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights addressing issues related to student discipline disparities. In the wake of this new agreement, Muñoz emphasizes that no state or federal agency has made a finding that Rochester Public Schools has engaged in any form of discrimination with respect to its student discipline policies and procedures

Muñoz also says a review of preliminary data from the 2017-2018 school years shows positive trends on students not being unnecessarily removed from the classroom, including:

- Ninety two percent of the school district’s 19,641 students were not removed from the classroom due to a disciplinary issue during the 2017-2018 school year.
- The total number of incidents in which a student was referred to an administrator due to a behavioral issue dropped from 12,361 during the 2016-2017 school year 4,336 during the 2017-2018 school year.
- The number of students who were referred to administration dropped from 2,807 during the 2016-2017 school year to 1,562 during the 2017-2018 school year.
- Of the 1,562 students who were referred to administration during the 2017-2018 school year, 888 students were referred to administration only one time during the entire school year.
- A small group of consisting of 196 of the 19,641 students enrolled in the school district’s schools accounted for nearly 50 percent of the 4,336 referrals from the 2017-2018 school year. An even smaller group of 20 students accounted for approximately 10 percent of the 4,336 referrals.

Muñoz says despite those successes, Rochester Public Schools acknowledges there is still work to be done.

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