Recovery School District centralizes expulsion process in bid for equity at all 66 schools

By Jessica Williams, The Lens staff writer |

To make expulsion hearings more equitable for Recovery School District students, the state-run agency will coordinate hearings at its 66 New Orleans schools through a central office.

The RSD Expulsion Hearing Office, once responsible for conducting hearings only at schools the district runs directly, will now oversee hearings for students at its charter schools as well. The move comes three years after media reports questioned data on the expulsion rates at some charter schools.

The change was approved last week at a meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Much like the unified enrollment system, the RSD’s new expulsion hearing process will help ensure a consistent, equitable process for every student in the district,” RSD spokeswoman Kizzy Payton wrote in an emailed statement. “Schools will maintain their autonomy to build a positive culture, and students’ families will have a uniform experience regardless of where they are enrolled.”

The email did not respond to a reporter’s inquiry as to whether the policy change was a response to complaints about expulsion inequities.

While state data recorded only four student suspensions at the RSD’s east bank charter schools in 2009, school administrators at those schools said the actual figure was higher, according to The Times-Picayune.

The new policy takes effect Aug. 1.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
  • Beth Butler

    An African-American student at an RSD School told me that for not wearing a perfect uniform she was asked to “Withdraw” from her former school, or else they would expel her. The threat of expulsion was enough for her to agree to Withdraw.

    This category of intimidation and manipulation needs to be investigated in the pursuit of transparency around the different standards and codes of conduct and discipline within the RSD and other publicly funded schools.