Youth Activists vs. AISD Rules
PODER conference aims to spotlight district discipline bias
The district gives teachers full discretion to remove from their classrooms students who are creating a "disturbance," and PODER says this lets teachers get rid of "troublemakers" too easily creating a cycle where students are labeled as "disruptive" and removed again and again before finally ending up in AISD's alternative learning center or the criminal justice system. And because 70% of AISD teachers are white, for a student population that's almost 70% minority, PODER says "personal bias" and cultural misunderstandings influence which students teachers consider "disturbing" enough to warrant removal.
"I got sent to [isolation] for yelling, but you know me, I just talk loud," said Akins High School junior Sylvia Redonice (loudly). She complained that the counselors assigned to isolation weren't qualified to help her with her schoolwork, so her time in isolation was educational time wasted.
The young scholars proposed hiring more teachers of color and monitoring the number and frequency of student removals from each class to tell which teachers are abusing the policy as ways to improve the situation.