New organization working with North County schools to reduce sus -

New organization working with North County schools to reduce suspensions

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

Ahead of the upcoming school year, a local non-profit in North County is working to change the way students in five area school districts are disciplined.

The organization, called A Red Circle, has the goal is to lower the suspension rate for certain age groups.

Erica Williams, the founder of the non-profit, has reached out to Hazelwood, Ferguson-Florissant, Riverview Gardens, Jennings and Normandy school districts. This year she’ll work with them to reduce suspensions for pre-k to third-grade students.

“There are a lot of homeless kids and homeless families in the area. They are kids who have different stressors and different traumas and so you know it could be maybe there’s a parent who’s incarcerated or the family is not having enough food and so the child is hungry and acting out,” she said.

Williams said students who are suspended often get into more trouble because they are home and unsupervised. Instead of suspensions, her organization will work with those districts on what she calls restorative discipline, that’s figuring out what the child may be going through and helping them overcome it.

“If we and other dedicated professionals and educators and parents and community members at large get involved with these kids we can go from you’re in trouble kind of discipline purpose to a restorative kind of disciple. What’s going on and how can we help you.”

Williams said she’s also working with lawmakers to get better funding for those North County school districts.           

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