In the wake of a dramatic increase in the number of suspensions this fall, the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school board’s Policy Committee is scheduled Monday to discuss changing its suspension rules.

Administrators last month reported that the number of suspensions so far this school year nearly doubled from 42 to 80.

This year’s suspensions have involved 66 students and have resulted in students missing 139.5 days of school.

Minority students continue to be suspended at a much higher rate than whites, although the rate of suspensions for black students has declined slightly over the past three years, while the rate for whites has increased slightly.

Roger Williams of OPAL, the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, says the disparity is one more indicator of institutional racism, though he said the District is making some progress, including the decision to hire a director for black student success and an equity instructional coach.

Roger Williams.

But, he says, “The truth of the matter is we still have a great deal of work to do.”

The reasons cited for suspension include aggressive behavior, physical violence, sexual violations and theft/vandalism.

Assistant Superintendent of Special Services Joyce Bartz says next steps in establishing effective suspension parameters include developing a uniform PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) system, restorative conferencing sessions and a parent/administration session on the suspension policy.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Hill Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Join the Conversation


  1. The children

    The children of people with standards have lower suspension rates regardless of household income. Regardless of race. Issues are parenting. Some people suck at it.

  2. No indication of racism
    The suspension report that will be discussed Monday night is disappointing due to the increased number of incidents and the continued high number of black students getting suspended.

    However, Mr. Williams claim that the “disparity is one more indicator of institutional racism” is misleading, false and a slap in the face to the hard working D65 Administrators, support staff and teachers.

    The report did not suggest or mention that black students are targeted by D65 personnel, nor did it say that different punishments were given to students of color for the same offense.

    Under Dr. Goren’s leadership there has been an increase in the awareness of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic, religious and other factors in how students view themselves, the challenges they face and how D65 can better interact with all students.

    I expect that suspending a student is the last step and is a well documented process. If there is evidence of racism, the person or people involved should be fired.

    The report doesn’t break out the numbers by gender; is there a difference?
    The report doesn’t break down the incidences by grade and it does appear that more suspensions occur in middle school.
    But is there a notable difference between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade?

    Are there other “early warning” signs such as lack of attendance or poor grades or other factors that serve as leading indicators
    for future suspensions? If so, maybe an intervention plan can be established to prevent future suspensions.

    There’s no doubt that today’s students face many challenges and D65 does a good job in providing supports.
    While there’s opportunity for D65 personnel to do a better job, there’s also opportunity for family and friends to help
    with struggling students too.

    Other community members can be helpful too and address the real, underlying problems in our community instead of resorting
    to the knee jerk reaction and retort of “institutional racism.” Not a helpful comment and it doesn’t reflect well upon the good work of OPAL.


  3. Looks like D65 will create another 6 figure job

    Looks like D65 will create another new six figure job position. It will be called the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Administrator or PBISA. Just what D65 needs. After all, when voters just gave the district an extra $100 million why shouldn’t it spend it.

    Roger Williams of OPAL has no evidence of “institutional racism” yet he just throws it out there without anyone challenging him. The game here is play the race card and get what you want.. How can anyone take someone like that serious. Is this how OPAL thinks? 9th Ward Alderman Cicely Fleming is CEO of OPAL. Does she think there’s institutional racism at D65? How about at City Hall? Someone in the media should kindly ask her, demanding specifics. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    Meanwhile, police arrested last week an ETHS student for murder. That student happens to live in Chicago. So I’d like to know how did that student enroll at ETHS? How many D65 and D202 students living in Chicago were suspended? For those bureaucrats thinking of lessening the number of suspensions consider what would have happened if Parkland High School expelled Nikolas Cruz. And he’s white! Well, maybe a white Hispanic? What does it matter.

    1. Parkland did expell N. Cruise

      Parkland did expell N. Cruise. And tbh… If they had  more early intervention programs like the one you are disparaging perhaps things would have turned out differently.

      1. Parkland did NOT expel Cruz
        Wrong. Parkland did NOT expel Cruz. They suspended him a few times and transferred him to alternative placements in the same district.

        Early intervention programs? My Gawd, Cruz was in and out of mental health clinics, the DCFS visited his home and he saw counselors at school., and other .

        Cruz had cut his arms on Snapchat and said he wanted to buy a gun in September 2016, more than a year before he carried out his own massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Police and adult welfare investigators from the Department of Children & Family Services investigated the incident four days after he turned 18 and was legally able to buy a gun. The report stated in part: ““Mr. Cruz has fresh cuts on both his arms. Mr Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”

        Hello? Dude cuts his arm on Snapchat in a cry for help and police and DCFS ponder why he wants to buy a gun and do nothing to prevent it. Nothing.

        Cruz’s therapist from Henderson Mental Health, Jared Bienenfeld, was also “on the scene at the home and deemed Nikolas to be no threat to anyone or himself at this present time.” Five months later, Cruz bought an AR-15 rifle.

        What did Cruz have to do to convince people that he’s dangerous. Oh yeah, make a Youtube video showing off his guns and writing he wants to be a professional school shooter. But no one listened. No one cared.

        And somehow it’s the NRA’s fault? Activists are using this tragedy for political purposes. Sad, so sad.

        ETHS students plan to walk out of class March 14 and march against guns. I and other parents wanna know what is D202 and D65 are doing to keep our kids safe? Anyone care to explain?

    2. By all means

      Create another $100,000 position for each ethic, racial, gender, under-achievers, gift, poor, sexual group [and on and on] on campus. Then create an uber position to monitor all the other positions. Devote valuable resources, time and by all means money to these groups. Take the money from education—apparently given test results and reported imbalance in the schools the education has not been that effective anyway.

  4. What could go wrong?
    “Let’s lower the threshold of punishable behavior to solve the issue of committing punishable behavior.”

    What could possibly go wrong here?

    Also, are black students actually committing more punishable offenses than other groups? If so, it has nothing to do with race.

    1. Suspensions

      Are any restorative justice practices being used instad of suspensions? These have proved very effective in other districts. I thought  Dist 65 and 202 were comitted to restorative practices.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *