In an email to the Pioneer Press, York said her goal is to get school management to implement and enforce safety policies “so teachers can teach and kids can learn in a healthy, risk/trauma-free environment.”
Last year, York’s testimony helped strengthen a Minnesota law that warns teachers about students with a history of classroom violence. She wants similar protections to be enacted nationwide.
The meeting comes almost four years after a letter from President Obama’s education department discouraged schools from suspending kids for nonviolent misbehavior and warned against punishing students of color more harshly.
In a January 2014 speech, then-education secretary Arne Duncan said adults, not children, are responsible for high rates of suspensions in certain schools and states.
“That huge disparity is not caused by differences in children; it’s caused by differences in training, professional development and discipline policies. It is adult behavior that needs to change,” he said.
Critics of the letter say real differences in student behavior are driving the disparities and that the focus on suspensions data has made schools more dangerous.