Akron Public Schools superintendent David James is defending himself against allegations the district improperly handles student behavior and discipline.
Ashton Marra of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
The Akron Education Association has filed 22 grievances this school year against the district on behalf of teachers who say they were verbally or physically assaulted by a student.
The local union held a safe schools rally outside the Akron Board of Education meeting Monday night to draw attention to the issue, and in his State of the Schools Speech Tuesday, Akron Superintendent David James addressed it directly.
James says of the 22 grievances, 6 were filed against children in the 3rd grade or below and 9 were students with disabilities. James says each student has the right to due process, which means children can’t be immediately removed from a school or classroom.
James: “There is something called free and appropriate education which means all kids that come through our doors deserve to be educated.” (0:08)
James says 114 students have been referred to the district board of education so far this year for disciplinary action, but those students make up one half of one percent of the 21,000 students in the district.
Meanwhile, James is one of three semi-finalists to become superintendent of Columbus City Schools. James says his experience could help the district reach some of its goals.
The Columbus school board will meet in executive session Thursday evening to consider the candidacies of James, interim Columbus superintendent John Stanford and former CCS deputy superintendent Keith Bell.