Head met student she expelled and changed approach to discipline

The Independent tells the story of a Chicago head teachers who reassessed her attitudes after a meeting with a former student she had expelled.

Nancy Hanks was standing in a lift, her eyes fixed on her cellphone, when the doors opened onto a familiar face. It was one of her former students, a boy she had expelled from the school she led in one of Chicago’s toughest neighbourhoods…

She was flooded with fear… also was …with regret. Why had she kicked him out of school? She could have chosen a different path, and a more courageous one, she said, recalling the encounter in a speech last month in Washington at the 25th anniversary summit for Teach for America.

She urged the other TFA alumni to examine their own contributions to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately affects students of colour and students with disabilities…

“I was nervous about giving this speech because I’m certainly not an expert in this field,” she said in a recent interview. “I know colleagues and professors who are way more well-versed in all of the nuances of this work. But I feel like there are people who are like me, everyday trying to do the right things by kids, and who are confronted with these situations where you have to sometimes make courageous choices that ultimately can impact people for the rest of their lives.”

In Madison, Hanks has played a key role in revamping district-wide discipline policies, replacing the old zero-tolerance approach with an approach built on the conviction that suspension and expulsion don’t solve problems at the root of student misbehaviour…

More at Headteacher meets student she expelled and it changes her entire approach to discipline


This is just a snippet from a long and interesting article – well worth a read.

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