Calif. District Reduces Suspensions with ‘Youth Courts’

CALIFORNIA — More than 700,000 California school are suspended or expelled each year. Those students are predominantly black or Latino.

Teachers and administrators in Richmond have cut the local district’s suspensions in half in a six year period by adopting a youth court program and other new approaches to discipline, Capital Public Radio reports. Richmond High’s Youth Court allows a student prosecutor and a jury of six seniors to help determine the consequences of student misbehavior.

Nearly half of the total expulsions in California are for vague offenses, such as “willfully defying the authority of school personnel” and “disruption of school activities.” Critics of softer discipline measures like Richmond’s youth court claim it could compromise school safety.  

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