NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – The Metropolitan Congregations United is calling on St. Louis area school districts to create or revise a Memorandum of Understanding with students, parents, staff and law enforcement concerning disciplining students at school.
"Breaking the pipeline effects all of us" said community member Amber Norris. "Even though I'm not a parent, I work in the schools, I've been a teacher and it breaks my heart that people can look at my old students and see criminals, felons at any time" she said.
The call for action comes amid a new state law that classifies third degree assault as a Class E felony. News of the new law has led to controversy about how schools will interpret it when it comes to discipline students found fighting in school. MCU believes now is the perfect time for school districts to get everyone on the same page.
"Everyone needs to know their role is and how it's supposed to be played out" said MCU parent, Keena Smith. "The ultimate goal is to keep our kids safe and keep them in school".
Many school districts already use Student Codes of Conduct. The MCU believes districts should go a step further and specifically outline the roles concerning discipline. They suggest guidelines such as: clarifying and limiting the role of school resource officers, clarifying the guidelines on use of force on students, containing the due process protections for parents and students and describing the training of school resource officers and administrators.
"Well I think even more importantly it's to hold the adults accountable" said Norris. "To make sure that police officers, school resource officers, school administrators all understand how to approach children when something goes wrong" she said.