Tag Archives: permanent expulsion

“Children make mistakes”–and they shouldn’t be permanently expelled from school

The Baltimore Sun ran a letter from Maryland Legal Aid’s Cornelia Bright Gordon about Baltimore City school’s permanent expulsion policy.  “Children make mistakes,” wrote Bright Gordon, co-chief attorney of Legal Aid’s Baltimore office. “Which of them shall we throw away without benefit of any public education that might be their life-line for future success? No person attains adulthood without regrettable conduct.

“Our societal plan is to teach a child correct behavior, to help him/her learn from mistakes, and become a valuable, contributing member of our community upon adulthood,” she continued.

“Maryland law provides a free public education to all children ages five to 20. Certainly the law authorizes the individual counties to create discipline policies. But it anticipates a specific time period of removal from the child’s current school, and not an indefinite exclusion from all school whatsoever.”

To read the entire letter, click here.

Baltimore schools challenged over permanent expulsions

Legal Aid staff attorney Nicole Jassie

Legal Aid staff attorney Nicole Jassie

After Maryland Legal Aid successfully challenged the permanent expulsion of three Baltimore City school students, the Baltimore Sun reports that the school system is softening its stance on permanent expulsion for students under 16 involved with arson or explosives.

Nicole Jassie, a Legal Aid attorney, said she believes the Baltimore school system may have violated the Maryland Constitution when it told students they no longer had access to a public education,” said today’s article, “Debate simmers over student expulsions.” “She points out that the state guarantees chidren a free and adequate education and makes school attendance mandatory up to the age of 16.”

Jassie also pointed out that the policy contrasts with the criminal justice system. “Even teenagers who are convicted of serious crimes are allowed to go to a jail school,” the article said. “While a few school systems don’t let a very small percentage of students back in their schools after serious incidents, most systems transfer students to alternative schools and then allow them to return.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Last week, Assistant Director of Advocacy for Children’s Rights Janet Hartge and Jassie appeared on the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-FM. Hartge debated Baltimore City schools’ Jonathan Brice about its permanent expulsion policy.