EWA Radio

To Avoid Suspension, Students Talk It Out
EWA Radio, Episode 9

In Texas, a state known for its zero-tolerance approach to school discipline, 80 percent of its prisoners are high school dropouts. And as more research finds a link between suspensions and quitting school early, the evidence is mounting that keeping kids from learning for behavioral reasons hurts their academic outcomes. Against this backdrop is White Middle School in central Texas.

San Antonio Express-News reporter Francisco Vara-Orta spent seven months working on a story that tracked the school’s efforts to roll back its harsh disciplinary rules, implementing a new approach called “restorative justice” that lets the students talk it out in lieu of suspension. The project has led to a drop in suspensions and is gaining support among state leaders. Vara-Orta spoke to EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about his story and possible changes to the state’s enforcement of school discipline rules.

Theme: “Spring Retrospective (feat. Smiletron)” by Electric Children

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