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Talking about what the new Wake County school board may be like

What will things be like for the new Wake County school board that has seven registered Democrats, an unaffiliated member who used to be a Democrat and a registered Republican called a RINO by some critics?

As noted in Saturday’s article, members of the new board and their supporters say the partisan fighting will end and the board will be able to focus on student achievement instead. But critics say they worry the new board could become just like the pre-2009 board and ignore dissenting opinions.

School board Chairman Keith Sutton said you can’t assume the new board, which takes office in December, will be in lock step on everything.

Groups to march to Central Prison to protest Wake County school discipline policies

NC HEAT, the Youth Organizing Institute and the Education Justice Alliance plan to hold march today to protest school discipline policies that organizers say pushes students out of schools and into the prison system.

The protestors plan to gather at 4:30 p.m. at Washington Elementary School and march to Central Prison. It’s part of a nationwide series of events “to raise awareness about School Push-Out Policies that disproportionately affect low-income students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, and students of color, such as current punitive suspension practices in Wake County, fueling a “school-to-prison pipeline.”

It’s the same group that called for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for Level I offenses at Tuesday’s Wake County school board meeting.

Groups to call for a moratorium on Wake County school suspensions

At the same time the Wake County school board will discuss placing limits to police interrogations of students at school, several local groups will call today for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions.

At 5 p.m., members of the Youth Organizing Institute, the Education Justice Alliance and NC HEAT will hold a press conference at the school system’s headquarters to complain about the school-to-prison pipeline in Wake. It’s part of a nationwide efforts this week to get schools systems to end suspensions and expulsions.

Just a few feet away inside the building, the board will discuss a new policy that regulates when law enforcement officers who are not school resource officers can talk with students on school campuses.

UPDATE

Click here for the article on the discussion of the new policy.

Report says Wake County school discipline reform has come to a "screeching halt"

A new report out today charges that the Wake County school system is falling short on its efforts to reform its discipline policies to reduce how long and how many students are suspended from school.

The report from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services acknowledges that Wake has made changes since 2010 that have reduced the number of student suspensions. But the report says too many Wake students. particularly from low-income and minority families, are still being suspended and sent to inadequate alternative schools or into the criminal justice system.

“Unfortunately, systemic improvements have come to a screeching halt well short of much needed comprehensive reform,” according to the report. “Little progress has been made over the last two years, and the reasons behind the inaction are unclear: Is it indifference, complacency after some progress had been made, changes in district leadership, competing priorities, or something else?”

Wake County school board committee to discuss how to control information leaks

The Wake County school board's efforts to control leaks and punish school board members who release confidential information kicks off today.

At the request of school board chairman Keith Sutton, the board's policy committee will begin reviewing today the code of ethics for board members. The goal, as Sutton said last week, is to figure out a way to prevent a repeat of what happened when closed-session info on the superintendent search was leaked.

"There needs to be some accountability and repercussions when someone breaches our confidentiality and the trust of this board in that manner," Sutton said at the board table last week.

Wake County school board also talking discipline, gifted education and land sales today

Aside from hiring the new superintendent, the Wake County school board has got a lot of other items to contend with today, particularly during the work session.

The board will hear a proposal to sell the former Wake Forest Road headquarters in Raleigh for $5 million, well below it's $6.8 million assessed value. Wake had originally asked for $9.8 million but had needed to get at least $7.9 million to help offset the cost of leasing the new headquarters in Cary.

The district also seems to be moving rapidly on a proposal to further restrict or even eliminate the use of out-of-school suspensions for Level I disciplinary offenses.

Wake County may put a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for some offenses

Are there some infractions that Wake County students should never receive out-of-school suspensions for committing?

As noted in today's article, the school system is looking at a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for "Level I" offenses. Students disciplined for those infractions would only be given in-school suspensions.

According to Wake's code of student conduct, Level I offenses include non-compliance, in which students refuse to follow directions of school personnel or volunteers who are authorized to give such directions.

Enloe High School students asking for dismissal of charges in water-balloon incident

Should the seven Enloe High School students arrested for throwing water balloons, and possibly even nastier stuff, have the charges dropped?

As noted in today's article, the students who spoke at Thursday's news conference and their supporters say the Enloe school administration, Wake County school system and Raleigh Police overreacted to the May 16 incident.

The speakers also said that the balloons were only filled with water and that the students engaged in behavior that was childish but not criminal.

CCCAAC holding press conference on Enloe High School water-balloon prank punishments

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children plans to hold a press conference tonight to protest the arrest and suspension of seven Enloe HIgh School students earlier this month in a water-balloon prank.

The group has been complaining that the Wake County school system and Raleigh police overreacted. But school officials say the teens were suspended for disobeying the rules and police say they were trying to keep order amid rumors that substances worse than water were in the balloons.

It looks like some of the suspended students and the parent of one student who was charged with second-degree trespassing will speak tonight.

Questioning the punishments for the Enloe High School water-balloon prank

Is an out-of-school suspension for five days and being arrested by police for disorderly conduct or assault charges the proper punishment for last week's water balloon prank at Enloe High School?

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children is questioning the response by the school district and Raleigh police. But as noted in today's column by Barry Saunders, Wake school officials say suspensions were issued not for throwing balloons but disobeying the rules.

“Some students — let’s be specific, a small percentage of them — simply were not following the rules," said Wake schools spokeswoman Renee McCoy in the column. "They had been warned the day before by the principal on the intercom” that no disruptive pranks would be tolerated.

UPDATE

See update at end of post in which Calla Wright sent a new message Tuesday, copied to the media, requesting a meeting with Wake County school leaders to discuss the Enloe suspensions and arrests.

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