School districts adapt to suspension law

A new Illinois law makes schools throughout the state limit suspensions

By Krista Burris |

Published 10/27 2016 06:35PM

Updated 10/27 2016 06:35PM

Some local school districts are changing how they punish students.  
The law prevents districts from having "zero tolerance policies."
A new Illinois law makes schools throughout the state limit "out of school suspensions."
Local 4's Krista Burris shows us how two area districts are adapting to the new law. 
"We're not just trying to comply with the law, which we are doing. We're also seeing it as an opportunity to improve what we do," says Moore. 
Chris Moore is the dean of students at Moline High School.
He says they've been preparing to follow the new Illinois law since last school year.
It prevents districts from having zero tolerance policies, and caps the length of out-of-school suspensions.. 
"What we're trying to do is not only coordinate our delivery services better with counselors, with social workers, with communication with parents, so that we only keep a student out for as long as they remain, or as long as we have evidence to think that they remain a disruption to the school environment, or a threat to themselves or other students," said Moore. 
Perry miller is the Rockridge school district superintendent.
He says their district was already in line with the new law. 
"The Rockridge School District takes the child's best interest in every decision we make, and following Senate bill 100 is not an issue for this district," says Miller.
Both Moline and Rockridge districts have plans to help students transition back into the classroom.
"What we have is a reentry plan for that student so when the student comes back we decide what interventions, if any, they need to instead of just putting them back into the general student population. We want to make sure they can be successful in the classroom," said Moore. 
"They receive their homework, and they receive credit for their homework. As far as home, what we would do is counsel them back into the classroom," said Miller. 
Moore says they've seen some success with the new system.
He says they've seen half as many out-of-school and in school suspensions this year compared to the same time last year.
"We're using it to be better, to offer our services in a more effective way in order to prevent those things, so we can get kids back to where they belong, learning in the classroom," said Moore. 
The Illinois law limits school suspensions to about three days, but there are exceptions.
The Davenport and Bettendorf school districts says their limits are about ten days.

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