APS proposal would deny enrollment to expelled students for one year
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new proposal for the Albuquerque Public Schools district has education leaders divided.
It would mean a new restriction for any K-12 student who’s been expelled or who the district believes has put school safety at risk.
Those students would not be able to go to any Albuquerque public school for one year. That would be no matter where the behavior happened, whether at a public or private school, anywhere in the country.
Education leaders say there are strong opinions on both sides.
They say everyone agrees with the district’s goals – to prevent bad behavior, to improve school safety and – in particular – to keep guns out of schools.
KOB 4 has reported on the rise in bad behavior among K-12 students in New Mexico and across the country.
“As a board, we have been hearing pretty consistent concerns from the community about the safety of our schools,” Albuquerque School Board member Danielle Gonzales said.
Two education leaders say, even still, there’s a lot of pushback to this proposal, saying kids need second chances, and they have a right to an education.
Both Gonzales and local teachers union president Ellen Bernstein are opposed to the plan.
“In education, there is no such thing as one size fits all,” said Bernstein, who is the Albuquerque Teachers Federation President. “I think it’s up to us as the caring adult to find out what’s going on and to provide what is appropriate for each child.”
They believe any new policies need to go a different route.
“It shouldn’t be a blanket reaction. It could be the starting point, but the endpoint should be a way to discern the appropriate next step with each kid,” Bernstein said.
Gonzales says recent APS policies have led to schools suspending kids less often, and she says that is a positive change – keeping students in the classroom.
“I think we have to take all that into consideration when we think about really grave consequences like permanent expulsion,” Gonzales said.
When KOB 4 asked them, both Gonzales and Bernstein say sending more students to an online-only school, called eCADEMY, could be a good option on top of using charter schools.
Right now, this is just a proposal from the district. The school board would not vote on it. The superintendent and district cabinet would have to approve it.