This guest post was written by Sarah, a special education teacher in Seattle Public Schools.
I teach students with emotional and behavioral disorders at local middle school. Like many of the schools in South East Seattle, my students are culturally diverse and come from countries across the world. Most of my students have Individualized Learning Plans (IEPs), which outline specific tactics that enable students with disabilities to succeed in a classroom setting. Also, most of my students have been suspended multiple times, and at disproportionate rates compared to their peers without IEPs.
I oppose the overuse of punitive discipline in Seattle Public Schools. While I oppose these disciplinary measures for all students, I am particularly concerned with the disproportionate use of punitive discipline affecting students of color and students with special needs in our district. [Read more...]