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St. Louis Public Schools ban out-of-school suspensions for young students

Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, tells the district’s Special Administrative Board (SAB) that the district should renovate and keep open Shenandoah and Mann Elementary School.
File | Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Administrators will no longer be able to suspend students in pre-kindergarten through second grade who attend St. Louis Public Schools starting next fall.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams on Tuesday outlined several changes to the district’s student code of conduct during a Special Administrative Board meeting.

The most significant change eliminated out-of-school suspensions for the district’s youngest students.

“We just think it’s the right thing to do,” Adams said. “What we’re trying to say is our kids are not bad. Our kids need support. And this is an attempt to get them support.”

The board approved the new code of conduct almost immediately after Adams’ presentation. It goes into effect in the 2016-17 school year.

St. Louis Public Schools has been in the spotlight in recent years for its high suspension rate.

And with this newest change, it’s now one of only a handful of school districts nationwide to ban out-of-school suspensions in the early grades.

St. Louis Public Radio's We Live Here team recently dug into state discipline data and found last year, SLPS gave out the most out-of-school suspensions to K-3 students. See the entire analysis — and We Live Here's latest podcast about the issue — here.

Kameel Stanley co-hosted and co-produced the We Live Here podcast—covering race, class, power, and poverty in the St. Louis Region—from 2015 to 2018.
Tim Lloyd was a founding host of We Live Here from 2015 to 2018 and was the Senior Producer of On Demand and Content Partnerships until Spring of 2020.

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