The faculty of Lynn Public Schools are seeking to change the way students are disciplined. The school system has seen a steady decline in the number of students suspended the past few years, thanks in large part to teachers across the district seeking out new ways to address student behavioral issues.
Deputy Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler spoke to the committee about the steps teachers and guidance counselors are taking to help support troubled students while still ensuring they take responsibility for their actions.
“I want to be clear that there really isn’t a magic solution, different things are going to work in different districts, but I would say here our efforts here are anchored in a philosophy, and this philosophy is to strike a balance between support and accountability. We know really clearly that behaviors that result in a suspendable offense is really reflective of an unmet need, and we need to figure out what that need is and support that student. But we also feel strongly about accountability we want to have control and peace and stability in our schools, and nowhere in the new law does it say, ‘You may not suspend students.’”
The district has not seen a sudden drop in suspensions in any single year, but rather slight decreases in suspensions for several consecutive years, as Tutwiler pointed out.
“We ran a comparative analysis of last year September to January compared to this year September to January, keeping in mind that last year was our lowest on record in terms of the suspension suspension rate. September to January this year we’re 2 percent lower than we were last year, so we’re continuing to move in the right direction.”