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Student Group Calls For Changes To CPS Disciplinary Policies

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A busload of Chicago Public Schools students set up shop outside the Cook County Juvenile Center on Monday, to suggest that's where they'll end up, unless CPS eases its disciplinary policies.

WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports a group called Voices of Youth In Chicago Education (VOYCE) organized the rally by 75 CPS students and provided them with statistics saying students lost 306,000 class days last school year, due to suspensions.

Roosevelt High School student Victor Alquicera said, "we need a discipline code that works for all students, not one that sends black and Latino students on a path to prison."

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports


Alquicera said research by VOYCE suggests 94% of all disciplinary actions taken against CPS students last year were for minor offenses, such as improper school uniforms, or lack of a student ID card.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia (D-7th) said the object of disciplinary policies should be to keep kids in school, not boot them out.

"As a board of commissioners, we are seeking to decrease the number of young people who wind up at the Juvenile Detention Center," Garcia said. "Some of this has to do with discipline policies within our Chicago Public Schools system."

VOYCE called on the district to modify and moderate disciplinary policies, which the group said has led to excessive suspensions, particularly of Latino and African-American pupils.

The group wants management to employ discipline short of out of school suspension, to keep order in the CPS system without depriving students of time in the classroom.

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