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Minority students and school suspensions

In response to Bill Hanlon’s Feb. 10 commentary “Discipline policy sends the wrong message”:

I deeply respect Mr. Hanlon because his hard work has revolutionized the way students in the Clark County School District are taught math. But I disagree with him that the new superintendent is sending the wrong message by highlighting the fact that the district has failed to educate many minority students and is suspending them out of existence.

The truth is that these young men and women desperately need help with their behaviors. And help is out there in the field of behavior analysis. Currently, there are only 55 board-certified behavior analysts in Nevada. A program at UNR — called CBANS (Certified Behavior Analysts in Nevada Schools) — is working to get more of these professionals into schools so these young men and women get the help they need. We need a similar program at UNLV.

Until this problem gets the funding and recognition it deserves, Mr. Hanlon is right: Teachers and students will have to unfairly witness outrageously inappropriate behaviors in our schools. But it’s more unfair to just dismiss the young men and women exhibiting these behaviors. They need and deserve our help.

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