Toledoans United for Social Action gains momentum

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A move to peel back on disciplining our students is gaining momentum. Hundreds of people came together Monday night to hear what is happening, and see what it is doing to children's futures.

TUSA, or Toledoans United for Social Action says that not only do punishments go too far, but schools are singling out African American and Mexican American students.

The group is made up of 24 church congregations that want school districts to deal with kids who get into trouble in a way that is more fair.

"So if they are trying to make this be something that is going to stay on their record and  travel with them, it is going to make it hard for them to get jobs and further their education" says Sonna Swain, a grandparent who feels Toledo Public Schools go too far with discipline, especially for minor infractions.

"And if you get them expelled, then they are going to get discouraged and not even want to go to school and that's why they be dropping out." explains Frankie Swain.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a civil rights complaint against TPS for an alleged high rate of discipline against minority and special needs students.

University of Toledo Criminal Justice professor Morris Jenkins is looking for solutions to the problem:

"I don't know whether or not it is intended or it is a directive but it is happening. We have over representation with schools with people being suspended, with people in the juvenile justice system, and people in the criminal justice system."

School board member Larry Sykes says offending students still need to be disciplined, but the district is looking at alternative programs to suspending or expelling students. He is also addressing the possible targeting of certain students:

"I think we will resolve this matter. We are looking at it and we will get to the bottom of it and as long as I am on the school board we will address it and believe me I will do the right thing."

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