Ohio school policies for addressing “violent, disruptive or inappropriate behavior” do not sit well with a large segment of the community. Activists argue that under these “zero tolerance policies” children are actually being suspended and expelled for offenses that are nonviolent, often out of their control, and possible to resolve with extra care from school officials. They also attest that children of color are being affected at a greater rate than their counterparts.
Ekundayo Igeleke, the new executive director of the University Area Enrichment Association, oversees the Freedom School, a free K-12 summer program in Columbus, OH. “We focus on restorative justice,” said Igeleke, who will bring in intervention specialists this year. “We never kick a kid out of the program, no matter how bad they are.”