The Illinois State Board of Education is addressing disproportionate discipline to minority students around the state. ISBE is requiring every school that ranks in the top 20% in disproportionate suspensions must file a report about why the students were suspended and take corrective action and implement a plan to fix the problem moving forward.
Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says that the district never looks at race when adjudicating discipline on students. “We look at each individual case based upon the facts of that case and then, we take into consideration previous actions committed by that individual. Then, we apply our disciplinary adjudication. Our final decision is based upon that. That, in our opinion, is the most equitable way to give discipline. Things such as race are never a factor at all whenever we make a decision.”
Despite the heightened number of expulsions and suspensions disproportionately effecting minority students, ISBE says that the number of discipline incidents around the state are down significantly over the last four years. Schools districts are required by a 2014 law to publish discipline data, but ISBE has yet to fully implement the law’s enforcement around the state.