PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Pawtucket school district will implement a new discipline tactic this year to deal with kids who get into trouble.
Classes were back in session on Tuesday in Pawtucket. According to Superintendent Patti DiCenso, the city hopes to completely overhaul suspensions in an effort to keep kids in school.
DiCenso said two years ago, the suspension rates were sky high – and principals complained about a lack of options for misbehaving kids.
“The only thing they had was to send the kid home – send the child home,” she said.
DiCenso said she came up with a new mandate to keep the suspensions on school grounds.
“We had some significant suspension rates from elementary [and] middle, as well, and I thought and started to investigate those and I made a decision – we’re not going to suspend anymore,” she said.
Last year, updates were made. Instead of suspending students, each school now has a social worker to help when kids misbehave. The district also hired eight behavior technicians, DiCenso said.
Ultimately, suspension would still be necessary in extreme cases but for now, they will be sent to district headquarters.
“Even if it is something serious we may remove them from the building three days instead of suspending them but those three days they’re with a highly qualified teacher and theyre learning,” DiCenso said.
Data shows that the suspension rate in the Pawtucket School District is significantly lower now than the statewide rate.