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Incoming DC Schools Chancellor Has Reputation For Reducing Suspensions

Antwan Wilson will take over as head of DC Public Schools following Kaya Henderson’s exit. While he is an outsider, he is not expected to make sweeping changes to the direction the district has been heading over the last decade. His success on reducing suspensions in Oakland comes at a time when the nation is moving away from zero tolerance discipline policies in favor of keeping kids in classrooms.

Attention on the so-called school-to-prison pipeline has inspired administrators around the country to institute restorative justice policies that address misbehavior but figure out how to reintegrate students into classrooms rather than sending them away. Suspensions have been tied to increased chances of coming into contact with law enforcement, lower graduation rates and higher dropout rates. Students who miss class for suspensions are more likely to fall behind, academically, and enter a cycle of bad behavior that leads to further suspensions. Focusing on prevention can be a game-changer.