In order to learn, students need to be in school.
But, too often, schools are quick to remove students— particularly black students, Native American students, and students with disabilities— from school, usually for non-violent behavior.
By failing to implement alternative, proven discipline strategies, schools are doing a disservice to students, as well as taxpayers and the economy. For the well-being of our students across Minnesota, we need school discipline approaches that work, and that focus on educator training and support, early intervention and restorative practices that improve behavior long-term, and student-centered engagement strategies.
The Student Inclusion and Engagement Act (SIEA) is a bill in front of the Minnesota legislature that seeks to promote positive alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices (like suspensions and expulsions) by providing additional guidance and support to schools to implement practices such as restorative justice, trauma-informed teaching, and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). Crafted in partnership with communities most impacted by exclusionary discipline, the SIEA would:
- Provide staff with training opportunities on alternatives to exclusion, such as de-escalation, restorative justice practices, and trauma-informed teaching techniques
- Improve data collection—particularly around school resource officer incidents
- Clarify and improve student due process rights when students are suspended
You can read the full text of the bill here.
At the E4E-Minnesota Annual Summit back in February, educators wrote letters and recorded videos asking legislators to support this bill, but it was not heard in time. We need legislators to hear from educators like you about why they should have an informational hearing before the end of this year’s session.
Take two minutes to contact the Senate education committee chairs to ask for a hearing on this bill, and be an advocate for racial justice in our schools.