Dallas ISD is working to find ways to amend behavior that would normally lead to out-of-school suspensions for older students.

The approach was spearheaded by Emmett J. Conrad High School Principal Temesghen Asmerom, who noticed that out-of-school suspensions were not changing student conduct.

“We rarely suspend students,” Asmerom tells The Hub. “It’s not because we don’t have incidents, it’s just a change in perspective and trying to get the right processes in place.”

The district is hoping to fund a teacher allotment so every comprehensive middle and high school will have someone on staff who would work with students who might behave in a way that would lead to an out-of-school suspension. Each school would have a center dedicated to helping these students while ensuring they are able to focus on their schoolwork.

In addition, DISD wants to train teachers and staff on social and emotional learning practices and conflict resolution, as well as increasing access to counseling and mental health services.

“We aren’t saying that kids won’t face consequences,” says DISD Executive Director Melody Paschall. “What we’re saying is that the focus is more on figuring out and addressing the root of the problem.”