Tag Archives: restorative justice

Why Do We Suspend Students from School? Do Suspensions Result in Improved Outcomes? Are Restorative Justice Practices an Effective Alternative to Suspensions

A month after de Blasio’s election I went to a session at the transition tent, a community outreach, an actual tent, every day a series of “events,” panels of activists commenting/recommending policies for the new administration. The education panel I attended, a minister from a large church, the local NAACP leader, local electeds, community leader types, all railing against the school to prison pipeline. With all the possible education issues confronting the city the top issue for these Harlem activists was the “pipeline.”

Harlem activists are not alone, in fact the “pipeline” is widely accepted as a “truth:” from the ACLU to Tavis Smiley to media source after source.

“The ACLU is committed to challenging the ‘school-to-prison pipeline,’ a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems“. (School to Prison Pipeline)

The school-to-prison pipeline: an epidemic that is plaguing schools across the nation. Far too often, students are suspended, expelled or even arrested for minor offenses that leave visits to the principal’s office a thing of the past.” (Tavis Smiley Reports)

“Policies and practices that favor incarcerations over education do us all a grave injustice.” (Tolerance.org)

The final draft of the New York State ESSA plan includes a section “discouraging” student suspensions,

“…additional measures of school quality and student success in the accountability and support system over time, beginning with the percentage of students who annually are subject to out-of-school suspensions.”

In New York State all students who are suspended must report to an educational facility. There are two categories of suspensions: in-school, in New York City from one to five days and in another facility if more than five days; either in a special alternative facility, outside the city usually in a BOCES facility.

Suspensions are governed by discipline codes, each school district must have a discipline code that is aligned with state education regulations as well as state and federal laws.

Read NYC Discipline Code (revised, April 2017), Grades K-5 http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/2942494E-7CD8-4CBD-86FC-E34A14FE1852/0/DisciplineCodeK5FINALforPostingaddtledits4517.pdf,

Read NYC Discipline Code (revised, April 2017) http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/92F313F8-C164-4B64-B236-BFF55A812254/0/DisciplineCode612FINALforposting5417.pdf

A lengthy essay in the New York Times reviews suspension policies in New York City and favors restorative justice practices as alternatives,

… in New York, where Rudolph W. Giuliani’s “broken windows” theory had taken hold, signaled to educators that crackdowns on unruliness of all kinds were in order. Between 1999 and 2009, the number of student suspensions in New York nearly doubled, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, reaching about 450,000 suspensions over the course of the decade. In that era, infractions that once might have merited a call home, like shoving another student or cursing, were increasingly common grounds for suspension.

By 2015, in New York City, repeat low-level infractions — cursing, for example — no longer qualified for suspensions. In order to suspend a student for “defying or disobeying the lawful authority” of school staff, the kind of catchall violation that was disproportionately applied to students of color, a principal had to obtain approval from the Education Department. Between July 2015 and that December, the number of suspensions in New York dropped by 32 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier

The Department of Education urged principals to adopt restorative justice practices in lieu of suspensions.

Restorative justice is built on values like community, empathy and responsibility; in its specifics, it asks students and teachers to strengthen connections and heal rifts by sitting on chairs in circles and allowing each participant to speak about how a given incident affected him or her.

The central question: Do suspensions work”? Do restorative justices practices “work?”

By “work” I mean has the suspended student “learned a lesson,” Is future conduct better? Do the “suspendeds” learn self-control? Has the number of recidivist suspensions declined? Does the behavior and academic outcomes of students improve after return from suspension? If a student is suspended and removed from class does the class “benefit?” Does “learning” in the rest of the class improve?

An out-of-school- suspension is the result of a serious violation of the discipline code, for example, fighting, and, we have to be careful not to confuse the act that resulted in the suspension to the suspension itself. While the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations encouraged a “broken windows” strategy, “stop and frisk” by the police and school suspensions, the current de Blasio administration has sharply reduced stop and frisk and suspensions.

Crime rates continue to decline across the city, we don’t know the impact of fewer suspensions?

Max Eden at the Manhattan Institute, in a review of teacher and students surveys claims discipline has eroded,

Advocates of discipline reform claim that a suspension may have negative effects on the student being disciplined. Critics are concerned that lax discipline may lead to more disruptive behavior, disrupting classrooms and harming students who want to learn.

While school climate is impossible to measure in most districts, it can be measured in New York City, America’s largest school district, thanks to surveys that question students and teachers about learning conditions in their school.

This report analyzes student and teacher surveys covering the five-year period of 2011–12 to 2015–16. The key findings: school climate remained relatively steady under Bloomberg’s discipline reform, but deteriorated rapidly under de Blasio’s. Specifically, teachers report less order and discipline, and students report less mutual respect among their peers, as well as more violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. .

At  March 14th Manhattan Institute forum Lois Herrrra, Executive Director of the Department of Education Office of Safety and Youth Development challenged the findings of the Eden report.

The Department Online Occurrence Report System (OORS) requires detailed reporting of every incident in a school whether or not it results in a suspension. OORS is a rich trove of data, due to privacy concerns the Department limits access to the system – research designs must protect all privacy data. An artfully designed research project would be helpful in driving policy, unfortunately, I believe, the current beliefs that abhor suspensions might not support research with uncertain outcomes.

What has gone unexplored is what happens during a period of suspension. New York City maintains suspensions sites (“Alternative Learning Centers”) and, students receive small group instruction and intensive counseling at the sites. Yes, attendance is well below citywide attendance, for the students that regularly attend: are the outcomes better; do the suspension recidivist rate decrease, do student academic outcomes improve? An article in the New York Teacher describes the sites,

[The Department supports] five centers and 36 sites across the city where high school students are sent for instruction after they have committed an infraction that results in an out-of-school suspension.

These centers together form a carefully conceived safety net to ensure at-risk students get the support they need while not missing a day of instruction.

Mitchell Greggs, the assistant principal at Park Place Academy, a long-term suspension site, says the Department of Education’s alternate learning centers, with their small class sizes, specially trained staff and extra support, give students who have made a mistake at their home school the opportunity to change course.

“It’s the best-kept secret” of the school system, said Greggs. “I tell some students this might be the best worst mistake you ever made.”

… teachers hold daily advisory classes to work on community building, punctuality and attendance and how to handle stressful situations without resorting to fights.

In addition, there are restorative circles held weekly and as needed to talk about issues as they arise and what students will do differently when they return to their home schools.

The intimate school size and class sizes, which can range from one to 13 students, provide the opportunity for staff to get to know the students and address their unique needs.

“We work very individually with students,” said Park Place guidance counselor Camela Singh. “There’s a lot of one-on-one attention to help them plan their academic career behaviorally and make improvements when they go back to their regular school or graduate.

For younger students restorative justice practices as part of a curriculum appear to be an excellent idea, especially if integrated into a school curriculum. At the middle or high school level I favor student advisories, time each week for the teacher to engage in social, emotional learning activities, perhaps restorative justice activities, perhaps single sex “discussions” with same sex teachers; however, to virtually eliminate suspensions is a disservice. Students can learn life-saving, vital lessons during periods of suspension. Violent and dangerous acts have consequences, and a period of removal from a classroom and period of intensive counseling and intensive instruction can make an enormous difference in the life of a student.

We need research: which approaches are working, we should not allow preconceived, political agendas to drive policy

The Suspension Conundrum: Do Suspensions Improve Behavior and Academic Outcomes for All Students or, a Pipeline to Dropping Out and Prison?

A few weeks after the election of de Blasio in 2013 I dropped by the transition tent to listen to a panel of community activists talk education. The panel trashed the Department of Education over excessive numbers of student suspensions, for the panelists, evidence that the “school to prison pipeline” was alive and well.

(Read here, here  and here).

The data is clear, students who are suspended in the 4th grade are likely not to graduate high school and the more frequent the suspensions the more likely the student will enter the criminal justice system.

As a reaction school districts have sharply curtailed the numbers of suspensions, especially in urban school systems.

Twenty-seven states have revised their laws to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline, and more than 50 of America’s largest school districts, serving more than 6.35 million students, have implemented discipline reforms. From 2011–12 to 2013–14, the number of suspensions nationwide fell by nearly 20%.

Is there a downside to reducing suspensions?

Advocates of discipline reform claim that a suspension may have negative effects on the student being disciplined. Critics are concerned that lax discipline may lead to more disruptive behavior, disrupting classrooms and harming students who want to learn.

A just-released report from the Manhattan Institute (“School Discipline Reform and Disorder: Evidence from New York City Public School, 2012 – 2016 “) takes a deep dive into the suspension and school climate data.

The report concludes,

[School discipline] deteriorated rapidly under de Blasio’s. Specifically, teachers report [note: using school survey data] less order and discipline, and students report less mutual respect among their peers, as well as more violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. There was also a significant differential racial impact: nonelementary schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst shift in school climate under the de Blasio reform.

Supporters of the regulations limiting suspensions argue that new approaches, restorative justice and, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports  are in the beginning phases of implementation, it will take a number of years to train school staffs and assess the effectiveness.

What is missing from the debate are the underlying questions:

* Are students actually exhibiting behaviors that are inappropriate in school settings, and, if so, why?

* Is the failure of teachers to address these behaviors the cause of the suspensions? Is the preparation of school leaders/teachers inadequate? Are school leaders/teachers culturally and racially insensitive?

* Do suspensions modify the behavior of the students who are suspended?

* Do suspensions improve the outcomes for the remainder of the students in the classes?

and a core question,

Why do schools with similar populations have such different rates of suspension?  Are we preparing and selecting the “right” school leaders?

I was visiting a middle school in community (in)famous for handgun violence. One school was on the first two floors and another on the top floor. As I walked up the stairs it was sadly clear that the school on the lower floors was out-of-control. The school on the top floor was totally in order. Same kids from the same community, different school leaders with different skill sets and different outcomes.

A campus high school, four schools in a building, had a long history of school suspensions. A since retired head of school safety looked over the data and explained how to construct a school safety grid. We mapped the “precipitating event” and time of the “event” on a map of the school. It was fascinating!!  The “precipitating events” took place in and around the student cafeteria and in the hallways. The hallway events were clustered near classrooms with newer and/or less effective teachers.  More supervision in the cafeteria and more help for targeted teachers led to a more orderly school, at least , for a while.

The key to reducing suspension are the effectiveness of the school leaders and the classroom teachers. Should Lisa Delpit (““The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children,”) be a foundational text for every teacher preparation classroom, or, because it is the foundational text, is that the source of poorly prepared teachers?

Will increasing the numbers of black teachers improve outcomes and reduce suspensions of black students? and, if so, why? (Read research findings here)

…there is compelling evidence that when students have a teacher of the same race, they tend to learn more at school (see “The Race Connection,” research, Spring 2004).

Those findings raise a parallel question: Does having a teacher of the same race make it more or less likely that students are subject to exclusionary school discipline?

David Kirkland, A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black Men (Teachers College Press, 2013)

… argues that educators need to understand the social worlds of African-American males to break the school-to-prison pipeline cycle.  The book asks the education community to listen to the voices of black youth to better understand what it means to be literate in a multicultural, democratic society.

Once again, is the source of the “problem” the failure to properly prepare teachers and school leaders?

If we expect student behavior to improve we must modify our behaviors. Suspension is a last resort, yes, occasionally the “street” does win. Schools reflect the cultures of their communities. The role of a school is to convince students to become “bi-cultural,” to accept that the culture of the street is not acceptable in a school setting. Teachers have argued that a suspension may “straighten out” a kid, and, is a lesson for the other kids: misbehave and you’ll be next to be suspended.  Does zero tolerance or suspensions improve outcomes for the remainder of the class?

The most common place for pickpockets to ply there trade was at the hangings of pickpockets. The area of deterrence theory may be applicable to the question of school discipline “The Deterrence Hypothesis and Picking Pockets at the Pickpocket’s Hanging,”

This study examines the premise that criminals make informed and calculated decisions. The findings suggest that 76% of active criminals and 89% of the most violent criminals either perceive no risk of apprehension or are incognizant of the likely punishments for their crimes.

Studying behaviors of principals in low suspension schools in high suspensions districts is a place to begin. Unfortunately school district leadership usually looks for the quick fix, the “program” that will “fix” the problem. I have no objection to restorative practices or PBIS, I have rarely seen a program that fixes such a deep-seated issue. “Turning off the faucet,” changing the regs to limit suspensions, does not resolve the underlying issue. Harsh and rigid suspension rules do not  appear to impact the suspended student or the remainder of the students.

Some principals and teachers have figured this out, maybe we should find them and listen to them.

The Suspension Conundrum: Are Restorative Justice Practices Too Late? Can We Identify Students Prone to Committing Anti-Social Acts and Intervene Earlier?

From the presidential campaign to city politics, across the nation the “school to prison pipeline” is near the top of every educational agenda.

The Clinton Campaign Education Issues website,

… too many communities, student discipline is overly harsh—and these harsh measures disproportionately affect African American students and those with the greatest economic, social, and academic needs

There is no question that zero tolerance policies can be counterproductive; however, suspensions in New York City do not bar students from school. The Department has a detailed 35-page Discipline Code that clearly and explicitly explains each violation and the appropriate action. Principal suspensions, from one to five school days, results in a removal from the classroom and the placement in what is usually called a SAVE room in the building;  the student receives, in theory, academic services and counseling and the parent is required to attend a conference.  Serious breaches of the Discipline Code: weapons possession, fighting, etc., can result in a superintendent suspension, which is usually 30, 60 or 90 days and can be up to a year. A disciplinary hearing is required, the student can be represented by an advocate; the parent is entitled to all the documentation and a hearing officer makes a final determination. Students who receive superintendent suspensions attend alternative sites with low class size and counseling.

. Incarcerated youth, youth in drug treatment facilities, young people seeking high school equivalency diplomas, all are placed through Referral Centers located around the city into appropriate education settings

.Read the suspension procedures in full here.

As the school to pipeline trope has grown the Department has tightened the suspension faucet. The number of suspensions has dropped sharply. The Daily News reports,

The number of city school kids suspended and arrested continues to drop, according to data released Monday.

Suspensions dropped by 15.6%, from 44,626 in the 2014-2015 school year to 37,647 in the 2015-2016 school year, the city Education Department said.

The drop is due to several factors, including the expansion of “therapeutic crisis interventions,” as well as the addition of 250 guidance counselors over the last two years and 100 mental health consultants this year, DOE officials said.

The teacher union president, Michael Mulgrew and the Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Foundation,  a right of center think tank are on the same page, criticizing the tightening of the suspension faucet without extensive counseling interventions at schools.

The Department, and just about everyone else has jumped on the restorative justice band wagon as an alternative school-based intervention. Both The Atlantic and the New York Times  have lengthy articles praising, with reservations, restorative justice programs.

The restorative justice enthusiasm reflects a core issue – we intervene after the horses have left the barn. Much of system is based on identifying failing students or failing schools or failing school districts  and providing some sort of, for lack of a better term, a restorative practice:  We are teaching resuscitation techniques rather than identifying the non-swimmers and teaching them to swim.

Instead of harping on the pipeline let’s take a deeper dive: Can we identify the characteristics of students who were suspended? For example, Kim Nauer and her team at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School identified 17 poverty risk load factors; some in school and others in the surrounding community. Can we construct a predictive metric? Will students with 6 or 8 or 10 of the risk load factors be more likely to be suspended? Which particular factor most closely correlates with suspensions?

Or, we can ask the kindergarten teacher.

My wife, a kindergarten teacher used to say: by November she could trace out the life path of students, a few she could alter, too many she couldn’t.  In my union rep days one of my favorite schools was the annex to PS 269. A pre-2 building, about ten classes on a grade, run by an AP and the teachers. The staff was both dedicated, really, really smart and feisty. One year they worked out a plan: the kindergarten teachers would select the 10 most difficult boys on the grade and assign them to the teacher who designed the plan. The other teachers agreed to accept one extra kid – the program didn’t cost additional dollars. At the end of the year the teacher, who has “the knack,” had turned most of the miscreants into upstanding citizens. Master teachers create miracles – the staff simply worked out a plan to address what they saw as an issue. No grants, no superintendents, no staff developers, just empowered teachers and a smart assistant principal who trusted his staff.

The Pre-K for All program in New York City is an opportunity to identify and intervene when the kid is four-years old; community schools may have the resources to address the out of school, the community deficits that impact the poverty risk load.

An intervention that begins after the student has committed the anti-social act, the act that may require a suspension, is too late.

Restorative practices should be part of elementary classrooms, many teachers guide students in creating school rules, student courts and tribunals can be useful, whatever is comfortable for the staff, and has some sort of evaluation tool attached.  Suspensions must always be an option; there are some actions that are so egregious that a punishment is required. Actions must have consequences. I have been in too many schools in which the line in the sand kept moving until anarchy was the norm.

A teacher told me a fascinating story: One kid was bullying another kid in a public space – the kid pushed and pushed; the second kid punched the bullier in the face, splitting his lip.

The kids met with the principal and the counselor, told the behavior was unacceptable, they would have to attend counseling sessions, participate in restorative circles. The mother of the puncher was called into school and told the behavior was unacceptable and she must work with her son – the behavior could have very serious consequences. The mother interjected, she said the counselor didn’t live in her neighborhood, in her project. “If you back down you’re a victim, you can’t allow yourself to be bullied.”  The counselor insisted, the parent responded, “Let’s change residences for a month, you move into my project, I‘ll move into your house, we’ll see if you feel the same way.”

Neighborhoods that surround schools have cultures and neighborhood cultures impact the lives of the community. Schools have to acknowledge the culture, and work within the mores that surround the school.

The teacher who related the story said she learned to talk with kids, informally, every day. She learned that to bring the kids into your world you have to enter their world.

Headlines about declining suspension rates are lipstick on the proverbial pig.

Suspensions, the School to Prison Pipeline, de Blasio and the 2017 Mayoral Election: “All Politics is Local.”

A few weeks after de Blasio won the election in November, 2013 I wandered over to the transition tent on Canal Street; the de Blasio transition team was sponsoring a series of panels. Experts and the “community” was expressing opinions and asking for public input: infrastructure, policing, sanitation and education. The education panel was made up of a leader of the Harlem NAACP, pastors from a few churches and community activists. One of the speakers decried the large numbers of black children suspended in pre-kindergarten. I was sitting next to a high-ranking Department of Education official, I looked over at him, he shrugged and began tapping into his phone – he shook his head – the assertion was totally wrong; however, it didn’t matter.  The panelists “knew,” beyond a doubt, that school was the pipeline to prison and that there was a direct link between suspensions of Afro-American males, high school drop-outs, and prison,

Read an ACLU Report here.

Read Tavis Smiley article here.

As we inch toward the September, 2017 Democratic mayoral primary and the November general election the potential candidates are maneuvering, de Blasio’s approval ratings are in the tank and he is appealing to his base constituency, the Afro-American community.

The suspension rules are explicitly spelled in Department regulations.

New York City has a detailed discipline code; a code that was revised last year limited student behaviors that were subject to suspensions.

New York City School Discipline Code: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CD69C859-524C-43E1-AF25-C49543974BBF/0/DiscCodebookletApril2015FINAL.pdf

 As a result of the changes, and mostly because of pressures from the top, suspension rates have dropped sharply. The New York Daily News reports,

Starting in 2015, city Education Department officials made it more difficult for principals to suspend students as part of a larger effort to improve school climate.

As a result of the changes, city schools boss Carmen Fariña reported in March that suspensions fell 31.7 % from July to December 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

The push came at least in part from de Blasio, who had criticized suspension policies as discriminatory toward black and Hispanic kids since his days as Public Advocate.

A few weeks ago the Department announced that suspensions in grades K – 2 would be bared completely.

Teacher union president Michael Mulgrew, in an op ed in the New York Daily News was critical,

In a perfect world, no child under the age of 8 would ever be suspended. Every student having a discipline crisis would have the proper interventions. Every classroom would be a positive learning environment.

Unfortunately, children in crisis who are disrupting classrooms are not going to be helped by the latest plan by the city’s Department of Education to ban suspensions outright in grades K-2, and neither will the thousands of other children who will lose instruction as a result of those disruptions.

Mulgrew was reflecting the views of his members as well as the principals across the system. I called a principal acquaintance,

“Yes, I plead guilty, I suspended kids in grades K – 2, and I doubt it resolved anything except it gave the teacher a respite from dealing with a few kids who are out of control. I wish I had a behavior specialist, a psychologist on staff, I don’t. A suspension gets the parent or the caregiver up to school and maybe we can work together and find some outside assistance for the kid. I suggested at a principal’s meeting that we chip in and hire an expert who we could share, my senior colleagues told me to back off, it was perceived by the superintendent as a criticism of her leadership.

Since the Great Recession of 2008 the numbers of psychologists, counselors, social workers and nurses in schools has been sharply curtailed. Yes, it is helpful to have reading and math specialists; specialists can only assist students who are ready to learn. How many of our students live in shelters, in foster care, have an incarcerated parent, a substance-abuse addicted parent or guardian, how many are food insecure, live in gang and crime infested neighborhoods?  The answer is simple: far too many. Principals and teachers must deal with the impact of the world outside of school in classrooms. Not an excuse, we take full responsibility for improving student outcomes; addressing the burdens placed on students and families by factors beyond the control of school must be the responsibility of our elected representatives.

A principal arranged for brand new winter jackets to be donated to all of his kids: attendance improved. Another held a barbeque once a month at the end of parent meetings, parents began coming to the meetings. Did the principal training program include teaching you how to check social media to see if there were any fights over the weekend that might spill over into your building?

Has anyone done a study of the impact of out of control kids on the rest of the class?

I asked an experienced principal if suspensions had a positive impact on the kid who was suspended.

There are some egregious acts, bringing a weapon to school, serious fights that must be dealt with sternly. Suspensions may impact the student who committed the act as well as the rest of the school. Restorative disciplinary practices are fine, principals and their staffs must have access to  a toolkit;  a wide range of approaches that fit the situation – removing a tool, suspensions simply makes the job harder and solutions more difficult.

I asked the same principal, a thoughtful guy, whether, in his view, suspension, was an essential part of the school to prison pipeline.

Don’t get me started, can I single out kids in early childhood grades that probably won’t graduate and will get in trouble with the law – sadly, yes. Try as we might, each year we lose a few more kids to the culture of the streets. The signs are clear: poor attendance, more fights, the wrong friends, we see it every year. We try to reel them back in, sometimes successful, too often not.

Believe it or not we are only thirteen months away from the Democratic mayoral primary. Shortly after the presidential election candidates will have to begin their campaigns: raising dollars and raising their profile. With low polling numbers will a Democrat decide that de Blasio is so damaged that he’s vulnerable?  Does Scott Stringer, the Comptroller, or Letitia James, the Public Advocate want to give up their positions to run for mayor, or, wait four years? How about Reuben Diaz, the Bronx Borough President? Or, maybe a Republican who can raise the mega-dollars – is there another Rudy Giuliani?  For twenty years the heavily Democratic city had Republican mayors. How about Eva Moskowitz?

In my mind there is no question that the UFT, the teacher union is firmly in the de Blasio camp.

Politico has doubts.

The political harmony between Mayor Bill de Blasio and United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew has faded in recent months, with Mulgrew issuing a series of denunciations of City Hall’s key education agenda items.

“We strongly believe that if the DOE properly managed existing programs, the number of suspensions for students under the age of eight would be greatly diminished,” Mulgrew wrote. “Better management would also result in more schools developing a positive culture of discipline and respect. Given the DOE’s poor track record in this area, we cannot support the plan at this time.”

To criticize actions of the Department of Education is not a “series of denunciations;” in mature labor-management relationships the parties can “agree to disagree.”  The actions of the chancellor in whittling away at the discipline code, in sharply reducing the number of suspensions,  we understand, is a political act; an appeal to a constituency that firmly believes that the act of suspension leads to dire consequences for Afro-American males.

All politics is local.

The union president is acting responsibly – he is representing his members, and, the parents of children across the city – you cannot simply bar suspensions without addressing the underlying issues – unacceptable behavior.  The Department cannot simply wave a magic wand and claim restorative justice practices are an alternative to suspension. Principals and teacher must have a wide range of tools to address unacceptable behavior, and to address the social and emotional deficits that result in these behaviors. Schools needs mental health professionals to work with children and their families as well as to work with school staffs and a wider range of alternative settings.

To call out the chancellor is not a sign of political dissatisfaction with the mayor; it is a union leader representing his members.

In the cauldron od politics someone is polling to see whether supporting suspensions will have a positive political impact.

A political axiom: win the election first, making a better world comes next.