Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School District has entered into an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights concerning the discipline disparity issue. The agreement, approved by the School Board this week, includes reporting requirements similar to those developed to meet the provisions of a previous agreement concerning the same issue with the federal Office of Civil Rights.

Both agreements include language that clearly indicates no state or federal agency has found the Rochester Public Schools has engaged in any form of discrimination involving its student discipline policies and procedures. At the same time, the school district acknowledges the disparities between white and non-white students are a problem and pledges to continue with its efforts to address the issue.

In announcing the agreement, the School District noted the Human Rights Department has entered into agreements with over 40 school district’s statewide, but Rochester School District is not in the same position as most of the school systems because of its previous resolution agreement with the federal agency, which is set to expire later this year. The news release also states the agreements are aligned with the school district’s interest in continuing and improving existing practices.

The School District also highlighted statics that shows progress is being made.

  • Ninety-two percent of the school district’s 19,641 students were not removed from the classroom due to a disciplinary issue during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • The total number of incidents in which a student was referred to an administrator due to a behavioral issue dropped from 12,361 during the 2016-2017 school year 4,336 during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • The number of students who were referred to administration dropped from 2,807 during the 2016-2017 school year to 1,562 during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Of the 1,562 students who were referred to administration during the 2017-2018 school year, 888 students were referred to administration only one time during the entire school year.
  • A small group of consisting of 196 of the 19,641 students enrolled in the school district’s schools accounted for nearly 50 percent of the 4,336 referrals from the 2017-2018 school year.
  • An even smaller group of 20 students accounted for approximately 10 percent of the 4,336 referrals.