Creating a Quality Community Schools District: Each Child College, Career & Community Ready

Discipline Practices

**Agreement to Resolve United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Compliance Review of the District’s Discipline of African American Students Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1213-0020. (2012) (enacted). Available at http://www.thrivingstudents.org/sites/default/files/12-2429_ATR_USDOE_OCR_Complaint_ District_Discipline_of_African_American_Students.pdf

This five year voluntary resolution agreement between Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights outlines the district’s plan to reduce the disproportionate discipline of African American students. It includes district-wide and Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) initiatives already in place, such as decreasing suspensions given for defiance, adopting Restorative Justice practices, and piloting Manhood Development classes. OUSD will implement additional strategies in two phases. The first phase includes creating a management position responsible for the day-to-day responsibilities of the agreement and creating a district-wide student discipline handbook. The second phase will focus on developing principals’ and teachers’ understanding of promising discipline practices and taking appropriate action when a school or school staff are not meeting the objectives of the agreement.

Tucker, J. (2012, May 23). Oakland schools’ black male students at risk. San Francisco Chronicle. Available at http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Oakland-schools-black-male-students-at-risk-3577141.php

This article provides background on OUSD’s current initiatives to support African American male students.  Researchers at the Urban Strategies Council, an Oakland-based community development nonprofit organization, found that over half of the district’s African American boys exhibited one or more early-warning signs of a high school dropout.  In response to these statistics, OUSD established the Office of African American Male Achievement in 2010, which offers manhood development classes, a Black Student Union, and parent summits to discuss issues related to African American student achievement.

Tucker, J. (2012, September 27). Oakland schools to get suspension monitor. San Francisco Chronicle. Available at http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Oakland-schools-to-get-suspension-monitor-3901025.php

OUSD’s current efforts to reduce suspension disproportionality and to move away from punitive discipline practices altogether stem, in part, from the results of a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights investigation described in this article. As the article outlines, the OUSD school board has agreed to five years of federal monitoring as the district works to address the problem.  OUSD’s five-year plan includes mentoring, parent education, and teacher training programs to address the effects of violence on student behavior.  It also calls for the use of Restorative Justice practices, which keep students at school, support offenders to understand the harm they have caused, and encourage them to make amends and rebuild damaged relationships. 

**This document is considered a priority reading.