HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- School leaders in Henrico County have been working for years to reduce the number of students being suspended from class.
And, they’ve been successful, with out-of-school suspensions going down nearly 38 percent over the past five years.
But, at what cost?
Rev. Marcus Martin’s daughter often complains about disruptions inside her East End classroom.
“She says her friends talk about...trying to get their work done and they can't get it done because this person was acting up,” Martin said.
At a recent Town Hall Meeting about accreditation issues in the East End, several parents told leaders the changes have created problems inside their children's classrooms.
“My kids still have some of these kids in their classroom that are major distractions,” one parent said.
“My student, who is also in the gifted program, suffers because he gets frustrated because the teacher isn't allowed to teach,” another parent said.
WTVR CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit took their frustrations to the head of instructional support in Henrico County, Nyah Hamlett.
“Do you think this new approach of reducing suspensions, has impacted the accreditation at some of the schools in these districts we're talking about?’ Hipolit asked.
“I wouldn't say so, there are so many factors that go into school accreditation and so many things that have changed at the state level, the federal level,” Hamlett responded.
Hamlett said challenging students are now sent to see school counselors and social workers in some schools, instead of being suspended. And, teachers are learning how to better manage students who might not follow instructions.
“My answer to that is we're doing the best we can to provide teachers with tools to equip them to work with students that have that right to achieve in our school system,” Hamlett said.
Hamlett said despite the new challenges, she still believes keeping challenging students in the classroom will ultimately pay off.