Activists fight for students’ rights at Norfolk School Board meeting

Posted at 10:34 PM, May 15, 2019

NORFOLK, Va. - Local activists are fighting for students in their community.

At a school board meeting Wednesday night, members of Virginia Organizing called on the board to reduce suspensions and address the special education program.

The organization and community members protested against Norfolk schools, claiming students of color and students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended.

Federal law protects students from suspension for behavior that is a result of their disabilities.

This is not the first time the organization has met with the school board to address this problem.

Members of the school board didn't want to talk on camera, but they told us they'll use the audit to inform their decision making and say they're prepared to take action to address the disparities.

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The school board sent News 3 the following statement after Wednesday night's meeting:

The School Board is very concerned with the performance of our students with disabilities in the classroom and beyond. We will use the special education audit referenced to inform our decision making because it will go further than just compliance; it will also look at how the division delivers services and engages with parents.  

We have items in place right now that are intentionally addressing the data. I expect recommendations to come from the audit, and we are prepared to take action so that we address the disparities.