DIGGING DEEPER: Kindergarten suspensions in Rockford's public sc - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

DIGGING DEEPER: Kindergarten suspensions in Rockford's public schools

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There were 137 out of school suspensions in a single year in the Rockford public schools. But RPS officials say it's not about the numbers.

"You cannot have children in an environment that threatens the safety of other children or is a significant disruption to the learning environment, you just can't," says RPS executive director for student services and alternative learning, Angela Hite-Carter.

Reasons for suspensions vary, but for some instances there's a zero tolerance policy in place.

"I have had kindergarteners bring look alike weapons to school. That might be something like a squirt gun or a cap gun. But when it comes to school, it looks like a real weapon," says Beyer School principal Christine Smith.

Gerry Ford, the director of youth programs at the Northwest Community Center says sometimes school officials make mistakes when disciplining kids.

"Sometimes, like in the court system, some people are falsely accused," says Ford.

But school officials say teaching kids intellectually and socially is a team effort.

"We're doing our part. We need the parents. Parents are partners in the educational process," says Hite-Carter.

But parents can get help from one out of school suspension program at the Northwest Community Center. It's designed to keep kids off the streets while suspended.

"They're learning right from wrong because they're getting those life skills that they need," says Ford.

Right now the program at Northwest Community Center is only open for middle school students, but another program is in the works for younger students as well.


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