Recent incidents, and feedback from students at Grover Middle School, have made us aware that changes are needed in the current suspension policies. The current policies seem to have no protection for students and have no minimum standards of evidence. We have drafted a petition for changes in the suspension policy at http://princetonfree.tripod.com/proposal/ .
If you would be willing to sign the petition supporting the proposed changes, please email Kyoko Watanabe firstname.lastname@example.org If you have suggestions for changes please feel free to submit them to me as well.
PETITION FOR CHANGES TO SUSPENSION POLICY
- West Windsor Plainsboro school district should have a district wide, publicly accessible written set of guidelines for suspensions, if such does not already exist.
- If a suspension is given, there should be a written document describing the reason and evidence for the suspension and a copy of the document should be given to the parents of the student involved
- Suspensions should not be made on the basis of hearsay, rumor, or information extracted through physical or psychological coercion of the students. Suspensions should only be made on the basis of clear evidence such as eyewitness testimony.
- Threats of legal or punitive action such as prosecution, pressing charges, or lawsuits should not be made to the student. If there is to be possible legal action, then this information should be conveyed to the parents or their legal counsel.
- If a student is to be interrogated regarding incidents that may result in a suspension, the parents should be notified in advance and given the opportunity to be present during the interrogation.
- Suspension should not be handed out for trivial offenses and should be reserved for cases where there is a physical (e.g. assault) or psychological danger (e.g. extreme bullying) to other students.
- Where there is no physical or psychological danger or threat to other students, alternatives should be explored such as counseling for the students, community or school service. Suspension should be considered only as a last resort.