Hundreds to Gather at Loyola to Assess Illinois’ Progress on School Discipline Reform

CHICAGO – Hundreds of educators, researchers, advocates, and student leaders from across Illinois will meet in Chicago this Thursday to assess the implementation and impact of a comprehensive school discipline reform law that went into effect in September 2016.

SB 100: Where Are We Now? will be a half-day summit Thursday, March 22 from 8:30am – 1:30pm at Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Kasbeer Hall (25 E. Pearson St.) hosted by the Transforming School Discipline Collaborative (TSDC), an effort co-founded and supported by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Students, educators, and policy makers throughout the state will share information, successes, and challenges in reducing suspensions and expulsions that have disproportionately targeted students of color.

The impact of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions on students in Illinois has been devastating; suspended students are more likely to repeat a grade, less likely to graduate on time, and more frequently drop out of school and enter the juvenile justice system. The passage of SB 100 was intended to end an era of zero tolerance in Illinois and help close the school-to-prison pipeline. More than one year after implementation, how effective has it been?

“We are in a transformational process to improve the culture and climate of our schools and ensure that all students can have the educational experience they deserve,” says Candace Moore, Staff Attorney with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.

“This conference will bring together leaders across the state committed to doing this work and will help us identify what is working and where we should focus our efforts on education equity moving forward,” says Moore.

Senator Kimberly Lightford, one of SB100’s first sponsors and champions, will open the event Thursday. District Spotlight break-out sessions will showcase the best and most promising practices of Illinois schools to reform school discipline; policy experts will present data and key findings; and students—who first led the push for reform—will share their perspectives.

“We cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to Illinois’s greatest resource: Our children,” says Joshua Kaufmann, Executive Director of Teach Plus Illinois and member of TSDC.

Acasia Wilson-Feinberg, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence in Chicago, adds: “Educators, researchers, and policymakers must work as a community to fully and effectively implement SB100 and provide a better future for all our kids—particularly children of color who have been disproportionally impacted by excessive and punitive disciplinary policies for far too long.”

This event is at capacity for the public. Members of the media who wish to attend must RSVP to Rena Beltran at rbeltran@clccrul.org.  
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The Transforming School Discipline Collaborative (TSDC) is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, school psychologists, policy advocates and community partners dedicated to supporting districts and schools to implement equitable and non-exclusionary discipline practices. TSDC aims to meaningfully reduce the high numbers of school days that students lose due to exclusionary discipline policies and to eradicate inequities in the administration of discipline. For more information about TSDC’s work on school climate and discipline, go to: www.transformschooldiscipline.org