Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert W. Runcie participated in a panel discussion at The White House. The event, called Rethink School Discipline, focused on helping school districts create positive school climates and implement effective discipline practices.
The daylong conference also included breakout sessions with superintendents, principals and teachers from across the country. Michaelle Pope, the District’s executive director of Student Support Initiatives, also took part in the event.
During the panel discussion, Superintendent Runcie spoke about the District’s historic Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline, approved by the Broward County School Board in November 2013, which aims to close the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline. It established new guidelines and processes for handling non-violent misdemeanor offenses on school campuses. It also outlined when it is necessary to involve law enforcement and when non-violent offenses can be handled through school resources and programs, such as the District’s PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support and Education) program.
The Superintendent credited the District’s intervention programs for reducing student misdemeanor arrests by 63 percent, expulsions among general education students by 27 percent and 54 percent among exceptional education students, and suspensions by approximately 30 percent.
“We must provide the right kind of training and support in our schools, and collaborate with agencies across our community, in order to change behaviors and improve educational outcomes for our students,” said Superintendent Runcie. “The most important work we do as a society is to provide our students with a high-quality education. We must continue to have these important conversations and focus on meeting the needs of all of our students.”
“Creating and sustaining safe, supportive schools is absolutely essential to ensuring students can engage in the rich learning experiences they need for success in college, work and life – that’s why rethinking school discipline is critical to boosting student achievement and improving school outcomes,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Today’s conference shows that there are leaders across the country who are committed to doing this work. We are proud to stand as partners with these educators to say that we have to continue to do better for all of our students.”
The White House Rethink Discipline conference builds on the work of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK)
, the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG)
, and the Supportive School Discipline Initiative — a collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice launched in 2011 to support the use of school discipline practices that foster safe, supportive and productive learning environments while keeping students in school.
To learn more about the District’s efforts to eliminate the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline, visit: http://asp-us.secure-zone.net/v2/index.jsp?id=115/186/1711&lng=en.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has over 260,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 99 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 204 different countries and speak 135 different languages. For more information about BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @Browardschools, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.