Statement from Superintendent Pascal Mubenga
From Superintendent Pascal Mubenga
In the last week, many of you have shared concerns on social media about two issues: a parent’s experience of joining her child for in-school suspension last April, and an awful bullying incident on one of our buses last week. We are actively investigating both issues because they do not reflect the ideals of Durham Public Schools or the Durham Community.
Our schools are doing important work with our community to ensure our students are safe, secure, and respected. Together we have improved and made more equitable our student code of conduct, and are transforming our schools’ approach to discipline using restorative justice including turning our in-school suspension programs into Restorative Practice Centers.
As Superintendent, it is vital to me that we are who we say we are, and that every student is valued.
Statement on Restorative Practices, Discipline, and (Former) In-school Suspension Programs
Durham Public Schools has been working throughout the past few years to create a more equitable and fair system for handling discipline in schools. By updating the Student Code of Conduct, adding the Offices of Equity Affairs and School Relations, replacing In-School Suspension (ISS) with Restorative Practice Centers and placing restorative practice coordinators at every middle and high school, DPS is putting the pieces in place to change how discipline is addressed in our schools.
While this work is ongoing and supported by the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, change does take time. Our expectations are that every student in Durham Public Schools, regardless of behavior infraction, is treated with mutual respect, has an opportunity to be educated in an equitable manner, and is treated fairly.
Feb. 4 Update from DPS
In March 2019, DPS administration will share with the Board and public a Strategic Plan Priority 2 update that will include:
- Disaggregated discipline data;
- Updates around our Student Code of Conduct and discipline policy revisions;
- Updates on reconvening our Student Code of Conduct Task Force;
- Information on the current progress and Implementation Plan for Restorative Practices;
- Information on our short and long-term Professional Learning Plans around Restorative Practices; and,
- Updates on our agreement with International Institute for Restorative Practices.
DPS plans two meetings with the Student Code of Conduct Task Force prior to the end of the school year, and commits to quarterly meetings with that committee thereafter. Student Support Services will stay connected to the schools and our community partners to make sure there is an easy flow of communication as we continue transforming the way we do our business in DPS.