On December 20, 2017, the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board became the first school district in Pennsylvania to prohibit suspensions for minor, nonviolent conduct before third grade. Thanks to three long years of our hard work and perseverance, the Board voted 7-2 to pass the ban. This is a huge win for our children, our schools, and our community.
The Education Rights Network is a part of One Pennsylvania–a statewide organization working to shift the balance of power into the hands of the people–keeping families and parents at the center of the educational justice movement.
Last year in Pittsburgh Public Schools, students in PreK-2nd grade missed nearly 800 days of school due to suspensions, with Black children and students with disabilities facing suspension at disproportionate rates. For three years, the Education Rights Network has been calling on the School Board to end the school to prison pipeline in Pittsburgh, and pursue solutions—rather than suspensions—for our youngest learners.
For three years, we stood united, we didn’t back down, and we demanded–consistently and continuously–that our school board members take the first critical step to end the school to prison pipeline in Pittsburgh.
They heard us, and we won.
Now that we’ve protected our youngest learners, we look toward passing HB 715; the K-5 ban on suspensions. HB 715 would ban educators statewide from suspending students in the fifth grade and below unless the “discipline is based on conduct that is of a violent or sexual nature that endangers others.” Expulsions would be banned with the same exceptions.