Wicomico Public Schools Settle With DOJ Over Suspension Discrim - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico Public Schools Settle With DOJ Over Suspension Discrimination

Posted: Updated:

SALISBURY, Md.- Wicomico County Public Schools on Wednesday announced it has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice concerning complaints about the district’s student discipline policies, specifically concerning alleged discriminatory suspension of black and Latino students and students with disabilities.

The district and the Department of Justice signed off on a settlement agreement on Jan. 19, 2017, according to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donna C. Hanlin. She said that with this settlement, the district "confirms its commitment to creating positive and inclusive learning environments in all Wicomico County Public Schools."

Hanlin also said in the statement:

1. Wicomico County Public Schools has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to ensure a safe and positive school climate for all Wicomico students.

The Department of Justice reportedly received complaints of alleged discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and disability in the school system’s disciplinary policies, practices, and procedures. In accordance with Department of Justice procedures, no specific information about complainants, timelines or alleged incidents was released to Wicomico Schools. Further, the Department of Justice clearly states that the settlement does not indicate an admission of liability or an admission of violation of the rights of any student. This is one of the many investigations the Department of Justice conducts throughout the country with individuals, businesses, agencies, school systems, and others.

Since becoming aware of the Department of Justice investigation in August 2015, the school system has cooperated by providing information on discipline data and on policies and procedures related to discipline. The settlement agreement outlines how the school system is upholding and will continue to uphold its responsibility to make its schools a safe and positive place to learn.

2. Wicomico Schools is committed to providing a safe and positive school climate for all students, with a focus on teaching and supporting positive behaviors while addressing and changing negative behaviors. Many of the tools or approaches outlined in the agreement are already in place, and will continue, such as:

  • PBIS: Each school has a point of contact for its Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) program, or a similar behavior framework. The Assistant Superintendent for Student and Family Services serves as the District PBIS Director. The school system is working to review and strengthen its PBIS measures and practices.
  • Code of Conduct: The school system is working with a consultant to review our Code of Conduct to ensure alignment with the Maryland Guidelines for a State Code of Discipline. Consistent and effective application of the Code of Conduct and its progressive and restorative discipline practices is key to maintaining a safe, positive school environment in which students can learn and teachers can teach.
  • Professional development: The school system will continue to provide professional development in areas including PBIS or similar behavior framework, restorative practices, and behaviors related to disability and proper responses to those behaviors.
  • Staffing: Each school will continue to have a Student Services Team that meets to address student behavior and discipline issues. Schools, with support from school system staff, will provide specialized support services such as social work, nursing, counseling, academic support, teacher support, and psychological services.
  • School Resource Officers: Last summer Wicomico was one of several pilot sites for joint training of school resource officers and school administrators, through the Maryland Center for School Safety and Xero Associates. The cooperative and proactive work of SROs will continue in schools, and SROs and school administrators will continue to receive professional development in the roles and responsibilities of school resource officers.

3. Timeline: What happens next?

The settlement agreement was signed on Jan. 19 and took effect immediately. The agreement will remain in effect until June 30, 2019. During that time, the school system will report discipline and behavior data to the Department of Justice every six months.
Wicomico, along with all Maryland school systems, will be working in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education to measure and address issues of disproportionality with regard to suspensions and expulsions. Maryland’s model for addressing disproportionality, including a number of resources created by the Maryland State Department of Education, will support the school system’s efforts to advance its work in fostering a safe and positive school climate.

Aside from the terms of the agreement with the Department of Justice, Wicomico Schools has included in its vision points the aspiration to be “a public school system committed to safe schools, created through a careful balance of clearly communicated and enforced expectations and an atmosphere where students know that teachers and administrators believe in them.” As a part of that vision, the Superintendent’s December school climate survey of students, staff and parents will provide important insights into the climate picture for each school, and will help guide specialized professional development for school staff.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Tawes Crab and Clam Bake Set for Crisfield

    Tawes Crab and Clam Bake Set for Crisfield

    Jul 18, 2018 5:56 AM2018-07-18 09:56:00 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 5:56 AM EDT2018-07-18 09:56:36 GMT
    Attendees At The 40th Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake  (WBOC)Attendees At The 40th Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake (WBOC)
    Attendees At The 40th Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake  (WBOC)Attendees At The 40th Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake (WBOC)
    It's time for one of the hottest traditional events on Maryland's political calendar, especially in an election year.More
    It's time for one of the hottest traditional events on Maryland's political calendar, especially in an election year.More
  • Sidewalk Restoration Concerns Locals in Chincoteague

    Sidewalk Project Concerns Locals in Chincoteague

    Jul 17, 2018 7:29 PM2018-07-17 23:29:00 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:37 PM EDT2018-07-18 03:37:56 GMT
    Main Street in Chincoteague. (Photo: WBOC)Main Street in Chincoteague. (Photo: WBOC)
    Main Street in Chincoteague. (Photo: WBOC)Main Street in Chincoteague. (Photo: WBOC)
    With Pony Swim only days away, the town's busiest time of the summer, many locals say a new construction project is inconvenient.More
    With Pony Swim only days away, the town's busiest time of the summer, many locals say a new construction project is inconvenient. More
  • Delaware DOC Releases Final Report on Vaughn Prison Reforms

    Delaware DOC Releases Final Report on Vaughn Prison Reforms

    Jul 17, 2018 9:51 AM2018-07-17 13:51:00 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 10:53 PM EDT2018-07-18 02:53:39 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    A special assistant tasked with implementing safety reforms at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center following 2017’s deadly inmate uprising released her final report on Tuesday.More
    A special assistant tasked with implementing safety reforms at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center following 2017’s deadly inmate uprising released her final report on Tuesday. More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Delmar Native Serves at MLB All Star Game As Nationals' Grounds Keeper

    Delmar Native Serves at MLB All Star Game As Nationals' Grounds Keeper

    WBOC Sports Director Matt Pencek was in Washington, DC at Nationals Park for the MLB All-Star Game. He profiles Jeff Fleetwood from Delmar who finds himself at Nationals Park and on the field but not as a player.

    More

    WBOC Sports Director Matt Pencek was in Washington, DC at Nationals Park for the MLB All-Star Game. He profiles Jeff Fleetwood from Delmar who finds himself at Nationals Park and on the field but not as a player.

    More
  • Police Still Searching for Suspect in Viral Video of Neighborhood Brawl

    Police Still Searching for Suspect in Viral Video of Neighborhood Brawl

    The video involves hundreds of people and a car one man used as a weapon, according to Cambridge Police. In the video, there are screams of terror as one man, police identified as 24 year-old Craig Wallace, drives the car into a group of people, knocking some down to the ground. Later in the video, the car rams into another car, barely missing one person. Police say Wallace's brother broke his leg in the incident in what appears to be a family conflict.

    More

    The video involves hundreds of people and a car one man used as a weapon, according to Cambridge Police. In the video, there are screams of terror as one man, police identified as 24 year-old Craig Wallace, drives the car into a group of people, knocking some down to the ground. Later in the video, the car rams into another car, barely missing one person. Police say Wallace's brother broke his leg in the incident in what appears to be a family conflict.

    More
  • Wicomico County Mourns the Loss of Chief David Barry

    Wicomico County Mourns the Loss of Chief David Barry

    Friends and coworkers spoke today on behalf of Fire Chief David Barry's sudden passing. The longtime volunteer firefighter was killed Saturday in a car accident in Delaware. WBOC's Erin Tyszko spent the day at the Allen Volunteer Fire Company, where Barry spent a lot of his time.

    More

    Friends and coworkers spoke today on behalf of Fire Chief David Barry's sudden passing. The longtime volunteer firefighter was killed Saturday in a car accident in Delaware. WBOC's Erin Tyszko spent the day at the Allen Volunteer Fire Company, where Barry spent a lot of his time.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices