Emanuel, Bennett Push Student Panels As Alternative To Suspensions

CHICAGO (CBS) — Wells High School students held a peer review panel for visitors to watch as the Chicago school system signals a change in disciplinary policy.

“For too long, the old zero-tolerance policies that have been a part of CPS and across school districts in this country have done more harm than good,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Byrd-Bennett said student peer review panels are changing the disciplinary picture.

“When students are removed from a classroom for even a relatively minor disciplinary infraction, this miss valuable, valuable instruction time,” said Byrd-Bennett.

Speaking at Well’s high school, 960 North Ashland, Byrd Bennett said there’s been a 36 percent drop in the number of out of school suspensions system wide in the last three years.

“I think this is a remarkable reduction but it is not satisfactory. We won’t stop here,” said Byrd-Bennett.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said frequent suspensions led students to see themselves as not ready to graduate, not ready academically, a process he hopes changes with installation of peer review and counseling to keep students in school, heading towards college.

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