BOSTON (CBS) — To say that Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson is concerned discipline in some of Boston’s schools would be an understatement.
“Kids are suspended for not wearing a belt,” Jackson told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey. “Kids are suspended for not wearing the right color sneakers, or wearing pink socks.”
Jackson, who is chairman of the city’s education committee, said some schools do a great job, while others do not. He cited one school which had suspended 68 kindergartners, and said those suspensions are unreasonable on any level.
“Ninety-five percent of the things that people are getting suspended for are non-violent, non-drug-related suspensions,” said Jackson. “There are schools in the city of Boston that are suspending up to 40 percent of their students.”
The city councilor said over 100 people packed a public hearing Monday night on the issue of discipline being handed out at schools.
Part of the reason for the high rate of suspensions is the fact that many charter schools have zero-tolerance policies, Jackson said. He added he found it ironic that, in the city of Boston, a child is considered truant after missing school eight times, but not after being suspended as many or more times.
“The aspect of suspensions we should be looking at is that these young people are missing instructional time,” said Jackson. “They’re missing time in the classroom, and we know that you’re not catching up, you’re not excelling if you’re not in the classroom setting.”
Jackson would like to see more schools practicing what he calls restorative justice–where kids who are really acting out have to make efforts to repair the damage they’ve done.
“We ask this individual why they did that, and what they would do to repair it,” Jackson said. “And the victim is involved in this process, also.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports