Wednesday, 23 of April of 2014

School Discipline Practices To Be Evaluated


Bi-partisan task force to evaluate school discipline practices finalized


July 20 2011

Colorado State Senate – Democratic Majority

(Their original article posted at: bi-partisan-task-force-to-evaluate-school-discipline-practices-finalized )


Legislators announce citizen membership on committee


DENVER— Today, legislators announced the citizen membership on the Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline, created this past session by Senate Bill 133. Senators Linda Newell (D-Littleton) and Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) and Representative B.J. Nikkel (R-Loveland) sponsored Senate Bill 133.


Senator Newell, chair of the task force, offered the following comment on the selection of citizen members:


“I am pleased to announce the full membership on this important group. We have seen an enormous outpouring of interest and support from the public. I look forward to working with the diverse, bipartisan group of individuals and organizations seeking to address the problems that exist in school discipline policies and to support safe and effective classrooms for Colorado kids.”


Over the last ten years, nearly 100,000 students across the state have been referred to law enforcement by their schools. The majority of these referrals have been for minor offenses that reflect normal adolescent behavior and do not threaten school safety. Behavior that once would have resulted in a trip to the principal’s office or a call home now results in an arrest or a trip to juvenile court. The school discipline crisis in Colorado prevents thousands of students from getting the quality education they deserve, and often undermines school safety.


Senator Hudak offered the following comment on the announcement of the task force’s full membership:


“This is an issue of great importance, and I am pleased to see the task force come together. The diverse perspectives and wealth of expertise on the task force will enable us to identify ways to restore balance and fairness to school discipline policies and ensure that every student has the opportunity to pursue their education in safe and supportive schools.”


The task force will study the issue of fair discipline in schools and solicit input from schools and administrators, students, parents, and the community. The task force will gather data on disciplinary strategies and the use of criminal justice sanctions in public schools across Colorado, including the overuse of suspensions, expulsions, school-based arrests and tickets, using this research to recommend alternative policies and offer solutions for the consideration of legislative action in the 2012 session.


Representative Nikkel offered the following comment on the announcement of committee appointments: 


“I’m very excited to begin working together with a broad coalition of talented people on the Task Force who will help us analyze and restore balanced policies in our state, and fair disciplinary practices within our schools, so that teachers can effectively do their jobs and kids can learn in a safe environment.”


The criteria used to consider applicants to serve on the task force were:


● Statutory criteria listed in the bill

● Geography in the State – rural, urban and suburban perspectives

● Experience with school discipline policies

● Expertise of restorative justice practices or juvenile justice programs

● Ability to be a voice for a variety of student ethnicities, at-risk children and students of all abilities

● The applicant’s potential contributions to discussions about solutions, not just the problem


Below is a list of the full membership of the Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline:


Citizen Members:


Stephanie Garcia (School District Representative)

Lorrie Smith (Teachers and School Administrators Representative)

Yevette Plummer (Parent)
 Doug Ross (Law Enforcement, Sergeant)

John Jackson (Law Enforcement, Police Chief)

Garnett (District Attorney) 
Kim Dvorchak (Defense Attorney)

Ben Cairns (Restorative justice Practitioner)

Marco Nunez (Community Organization Representative)

Marjorie “Peg” Rudden (Child Advocacy Organization Representative)


Legislative Members:


Senator Linda Newell (Chair)

Representative B.J. Nikkel (Vice Chair)

Senator Evie Hudak

Senator Keith King

Representative Claire Levy

Representative Libby Szabo 


The first meeting of the task force will be Wednesday, July 27th at 1:00 pm. For more information and to follow the work of the task force, visit the task force website: Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline


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