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Parents, Teachers Seek Discipline Alternatives in Syracuse, N.Y.

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A coalition of parents and teachers in Syracuse, N.Y., have developed a detailed plan that would transfer violent or disruptive students from their regular classrooms to alternative programs.

The group, which calls itself "Be the Change" and is led by a middle school guidance counselor and elementary school Parent Teacher Organization president, presented its proposal to the Syracuse City Board of Education Thursday, according to an article in the Post-Standard. 

The plan would require violent and disruptive middle school and high school students to attend "evening schools," which are currently operating within the district to receive academic, social, and emotional instruction and assistance. According to the story, discipline-prone elementary school students would receive instruction in a separate classroom in their current school building away from their classmates.

"We're not looking at [the evening schools] as punishment, but as intensively supportive," Bill Scott Jr., a leader of the new coalition and middle school guidance counselor, said in the story. 

Although the plan has garnered support from the district's teachers, the proposal may face considerable challenges. The Post-Standard reports that the Upstate New York school system is under a state attorney general's investigation for potential violations of students' due process rights.

"[Students] have rights to equal treatment, equal access, and due process," Barrie Gewanter, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union's Syracuse chapter, told the board, according to the story. "To eject a student from all educational settings is to violate that constitutional right."

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