ACLU-NCA Testimony Urged Interventions Other than Suspension and Expulsion, and Keeping Uniforms Voluntary

Staff Attorney, and Equal Justice Works Law Fellow, Kaitlin Dunne addressed proposed policies on student uniforms and discipline by testifying before the Committee of the Whole’s hearing on the FY 2010 budget for the DC Public Schools, April 9th and submitting public comments to DCPS proposed regulations.

On uniforms, the affiliate urged first and foremost that the school uniforms should remain voluntary, and that students who choose not to comply should not be punished. In the alternative, the affiliate proposed that the parents of students at each school be polled before uniforms are required. Students’ expressive rights should not be restricted by a uniforms mandate unless a super majority of 75% of the parents agrees.

On student discipline, the affiliate argued that interventions other than suspension and expulsion should be employed to deal with bad behavior. The affiliate argued against zero tolerance policies, leading to mandatory out-of-school time for certain offenses, and urged the adoption of flexible rules that include in-school consequences where appropriate.