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OPS Board approves changes to disciplinary policy, amid public scrutiny

The changes will go into effect starting next year
Posted at 10:20 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 23:20:47-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV)  — The Omaha Public Schools Board unanimously approved changes to the district's disciplinary policy at their latest meeting Monday night.

Starting next school year, a multi-tiered disciplinary process will be implemented that the district says will better address conflict.

There's been community scrutiny over some of the language of the new changes. While the board has addressed some of the concerns, some still feel there's more work to be done.

"I'm not sure I am completely satisfied with that," said opponent Brianna Full.

Full, who's running to be on the school board, said the language could mean some kids might face discipline more than others.

"School to prison pipeline is an issue that I am very passionate about and that I would like to see fixed," she said. "We know that our students of color, our students with disabilities, and low-income students are more likely to be disciplined at a higher rate in OPS."

Retired OPS teacher Ken Brueggemann said he felt the language may not be tough enough on students who exhibit bad behavior.

"To protect a few they've disregarded the concerns of the many and they've seemingly dis-empowered teachers from enforcement," he said.

Full said the extra stress kids are feeling should be taken into account when deciding how best to treat behaviors.

"After this pandemic, it's really put a lot of pressure on the students," she said. "It's decreased their mental health levels."

Bruggemann feels those who show up with the right attitude to learn, should also be considered by the board.

"I would like them to remember that the welfare of the students who are conducting themselves appropriately and displaying an attitude towards wanting to learn are the ones that are considered first," said Bruggemann.

OPS said they plan to review the policy's effects over the course of the next school year and make revisions as needed.

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