Students’ Hair Cuts Cause Suspensions

Can a school control a student's haircut?

Sunnie Kahle, 8, said she misses play time the most. Her grandparents withdrew her from school after complaints about her hair and clothes. (Source: WSET/CNN)

School dress codes were big news last week as two separate stories spread over social media about young girls suspended for their haircuts. The stories are different, but both had the same core question: what right does a school have to dictate the physical appearance of its students? (more…)

School Silences Students to Avoid Pro-Life Messages

School Silences Students to Avoid Pro-Life MessagesIt is not often that civil rights activists agree with the Thomas More Society. The two groups are usually at odds on social issues. But when a Washington high school changed its policy to prohibit all expressive speech rather than allow a pro-life student group to hang posters, the two groups suddenly found themselves on the same side of the argument. (more…)

Teacher Says Suspension Should Be A Last Resort

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith at the United Methodist Women’s Anti-Bullying Workshop on March 8, 2014

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Detroit Public School teacher and advocate, Adra Young, at a panel discussion on Anti-Bullying. Her words were inspiring, but more than that, she demonstrated a level of commitment to her students that often seems missing in urban districts. In light of her passion, I wanted to take a moment to feature a recent article from her educational blog. (more…)

A Field Guide to Grassroots Anti-Bullying Advocacy

How to Stop Bullying in Your SchoolBullying has been a hot topic for years. In 2011, President Obama began a nationwide campaign to end bullying in schools. And yet, the issue is still in the news. Last November, Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin left the team because of the abusive environment. Whether in the schools, the locker rooms, or the workplace, harassment is a serious problem best addressed at the local level. (more…)

Should Schools Teach “Patriot Week”?

Will Patriot Week come back to haunt its founders?The Michigan Legislature is considering 3 bills that would require public schools to observe “Patriot Week” – one week out of the school year to focus on military history, the Constitution and other founding documents. Many see this as teaching students to understand this nation’s first principals. But could “Patriot Week” come back to haunt its creators? (more…)

Department of Education Does a 180 on Zero Tolerance

School HallwayIn a recent announcement, the United States Departments of Education and Justice called on schools to cut back on suspensions and expulsions they once encouraged. Their requests are backed with the threat of Departmental investigations into districts whose policies negatively impact minorities. But what prompted the change? (more…)

The Truth About Prayer in Schools

Can lawmakers require students to pray in school?It has happened again. Every year or so, lawmakers decide that the best way to help students learn to be better people is to institute organized prayer time in public schools. This time it is happening in South Carolina. The public call for this kind of action has been louder since school shooting have become common in the news. But can lawmakers do that in a country that values freedom of religion? (more…)

Is the Education Achievement Authority a Good Thing for the State?

file261235839740Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority (EAA) has been in the news recently. The program that Governor Snyder put in place to aid low performing schools seems to be getting mixed reviews. And when a bill passed in the Michigan House of Representatives that could take the project state-wide, opponents began to get loud. So what is the EAA and why are Democrats so concerned? (more…)

What Does It Mean to Be Charged as a Juvenile?

boredomWith more schools sending students to the police when something goes wrong in schools, chances are you know someone who has been through the juvenile court system. Maybe you are even facing a petition (the document that charges the juvenile with a crime) yourself. But what does that mean? Is it just like adult criminal court? Here is a quick review of what you should know if facing juvenile court. (more…)

Appeals Court Saves Students’ “Boobies” Bracelets

Public school students’ freedom of speech has taken a lot of hits since the initial precedent was set in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District in 1968. But student expression got a shot in the arm Monday when the full panel of the Third Circuit ruled against a district-wide ban on breast cancer awareness bracelets that read “I ♥ boobies! (Keep a Breast).” (more…)