Broward’s school district is tops in the state in the number of students arrested on school campuses — a dubious distinction that the district is hoping to erase through new disciplinary guidelines.
Those guidelines, which are still a work in progress, would in some cases replace expulsions and arrests with two intertwined behavior intervention programs, one of which involves a last-chance sit-down with a local juvenile court judge.
“This is a dramatic shift,” said Nordia Sappleton, a dropout-prevention specialist in the Broward school district who is part of a larger team crafting the new rules. “We’re not giving up on any of our students.”
The proposal comes after years of criticism that Broward principals have leaned too heavily on school-assigned police officers to mete out discipline — at times resulting in unnecessary arrests. When in-school arrests are made, minority students are being disproportionally placed in handcuffs.