A new code of conduct for the Rochester City School District was passed Thursday night in a unanimous decision by the Rochester City School Board.
Overuse of suspension was the main issue many had with the old code, says Sallie Williams, an education organizer for the group Metro Justice.
"Anything under the umbrella of suspension like I didn’t take off my hat, I won’t listen, I’m talking back - there’s 2,3,5 days of suspension."
Williams says many believe that ultimately this use of exclusionary discipline pushed children out of the schools.
“If you’re not in school you don’t learn. So eventually those kids, if not that year, within the next year, will leave school. What’s next? Streets. What’s next? Drugs. What’s next? Prison.”
But the passing of the code is just the beginning. Board Member Jose Cruz urged the importance of community involvement during the meeting.
“It’s just paper right now right? The test is what we do as a community to make sure that we implement this.”
The new code of conduct was drafted by a community task force over 19 months. It also aims to limit the role of police in schools, to create a more positive school climate.