Our View: Discipline input requires answers

It's a problem still searching for answers.

As Rochester Public Schools continues to address discipline disparities cited in an Office for Civil Rights report, the administration has acknowledged work needs to be done and is looking for input. Assistant Superintendent Brenda Lewis said that is the goal for an upcoming community input session, which is one of the three meetings required in the school district's agreement with the federal agency.

"The input we are soliciting is suggestions our community has in respect to our equity work," she said during this week's school board meeting. "We are very eager to learn from our community."

We encourage any community members with concerns about how minority students are treated in the district to attend the community event at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the John Marshall High School cafeteria.

However, we hope those attending the 90-minute meeting bring more than concerns. To have a true impact on the future of the district, we encourage residents to bring ideas for possible solutions as well.


In the past, we've noted parents and students need to share reports of disproportionate discipline of black students, so the administration and the community can be aware of what is happening in the district.

Now, we need to go beyond merely raising awareness. We still need to hear about problems when they occur, but we also need to hear about potential solutions. If student discipline was mishandled, what could have been done differently? What does the community expect to happen?

Only by asking such questions can the district move forward.

As district staff and school board members continue to address concerns, the sole weight cannot, and should not, rest on their shoulders. It is also the community's responsibility to offer some answers.

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