Henrico changes ‘No Tolerance’ policy in the wake of suspected anti-gay beating
The discipline policy throughout Henrico Public schools is about to change after a young boy was brutally beaten earlier this policy.
Student Eric Martin claims he was defending himself from years of bullying, including anti-gay harassment, when he was beaten so bad he was put in the hospital. But the violence ended up earning him an assault charge.
Over 90,000 signatures were collected in a petition supporting Martin in his fight against the charge.
“The Martin family, Tammy Motola, their family advocate, myself and many others do not think the school has chosen the right path. We demand justice for Eric Martin!” explains the petition. ”We are asking the school to drop the charges against Eric and discuss another course of action for addressing the situation.”
But in November of last year, Marin was found guilty. The new rules hope to change that.
“We are not a zero tolerance school division,” superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw told NBC 12. ”There certainly will be changes… And what they will look like…we will know in June.”
The zero tolerance policy was cited among issue in many Virginia Public schools when it was put on the forefront of a Center for Public Integrity study which found the Commonwealth one of the worst punishers of students. Chesterfield County Public Schools was actually one of the largest offenders, but Martin’s case mirrors many of the issues faced by students.
“Times change, and we need to change with times,” said Dr. Kinlaw to NBC. “And our community has changed, and we want to make sure our current code reflects what our community believes is important and the right thing to do.”
The Center for Public Integrity got ahold of Federal numbers showing just how often Virginia students with behavior problems were given referrals to police or court systems:
1 – The national rate of referrals to law enforcement agencies was six students for every 1,000 pupils, with 19 states surpassing that rate.
2 – Virginia had about 16 referrals for every 1,000 students, followed by Delaware with almost 15; Florida with more than 12; and Wyoming and New Hampshire with nearly 12 referrals for every 1,000 students.
3 - Massachusetts, Ohio, Nevada and Washington, DC, reported the lowest rates of referrals, at two or fewer students per 1,000.
4 – About 26 percent of all students referred to law enforcement nationally were special-needs kids — kids with physical or learning disabilities — even though these kids represent only 14 percent of US enrollment.
6 – In most states, black and Latino kids were referred in percentages that were disproportionate to their enrollment numbers.
7 – Falling Creek Middle School in northern Chesterfield County had a referral rate of 228 kids per 1,000 — 39 times the national rate.
8 – More than half the 3,538 complaints police filed over three years in Chesterfield were for “simple assault” or disorderly conduct.
Check out this video from NBC 12 for more details:
the petition is ready to go before the school board, and will be presented Nov 13th at 6:30pm at the next Henrico County School Board meeting.November 6, 2014
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