In December of 2010, Fayette County Public Schools finalized an agreement with counsel from the Children’s Law Center and Southern Poverty Law center to address disparities in discipline practices for youth of color and youth with disabilities. The agreement commits the school district, its equity council and the advocates for children to a three year plan designed to educate everyone in the school district to engage students in a more proactive manner designed to improve student behavior and thereby reduce the need for more severe punishment like suspension, referral to alternative programs or referral to court. The problems identified include inequality in the rates at which racial and disability status groups are disciplined, as well as inequality in the harshness of punishment for students in those groups.
This show will be an interview with key participants in the agreement: Stu Silberman, Fayette Schools Superintendent; Barbara Connor, Fayette Schools Equity Accountability Officer; Judy Boggs, Associate Director of the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline; and Rebecca Ballard DiLoreto, Litigation Director at the Children’s Law Center. The discussion will focus on the commitment to district-wide training and the system embraced by the district that will support this paradigm shift. We will be investigating the rationale for implementing the new system, how it works, how it will fit in Fayette Schools’ overall policy scheme, and responses to common criticisms of the agreement. This radio show is intended for education stakeholders in Kentucky and members of the Fayette community who are interested in the agreement.