Youngstown Schools hopes to decrease suspensions with new policy

The new code is effective Wednesday, March 29

Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip is looking to hire new principals.
Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new code of conduct in the Youngstown City Schools could curb suspensions.

CEO Krish Mohip came up with the new student code of conduct that he says would give teachers and administrators more options when it comes to discipline.

One of the options will be the new “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports,” in which those involved in a conflict would be brought together to talk about it and work things out. Discipline would then be based on the outcome of the intervention.

By implementing this new system, Mohip said the number of student out-of-school suspensions will decrease.

“Obviously, if a student isn’t in school, he or she can’t learn, “ he said. “In this school system, though, at least for the last few years, suspensions have been handed down liberally. That benefits no one. A suspension should only be a last resort.”

Mophip was shocked to see the number of students on suspension last year because of disciplinary problems. The yearly average is 1,500 days in a district of roughly 5,300 kids, even kindergarten through third grade suspensions were high from last year at about 1,000 days.

Since August, Mohip has been working with his staff and administrators to revise the system’s code of conduct, which he says was overly restrictive.

“It was a very punitive-type code of conduct. If you did “x” then “y” will happen,” Mohip said.

When the new code goes into effect, students can and will still be suspended and even expelled if necessary, but Mohip wants teachers, administrators and students to learn more about what caused the bad behavior and address those issues rather than simply mete out punishment.

“Before we just hand out consequence, we want to understand why that child did it. Are there resources that child needs, either in the family or for himself,” Mohip said.

Principals and staff members have gone through training since the start of the school year, something Mohip says will continue in the future. The ultimate goal is to find ways to keep kids in school, even if that means placing them into an alternative classroom setting rather than sending them home for what could be a week or ten days at a time and then expecting them to pick up with their classes where they left off.

“Quite frankly when kids go home, we can’t really what they are doing when they are not in school,” Mohip said.

The new code is effective Wednesday, March 29.


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