Solutions, not Suspensions!

Wake County School Board & Superintendent


Wake County’s public school students are in a state of emergency. In the 2011-2012 school year there were over 14,000 suspensions. By far, most of the suspensions were for very minor behaviors such as “disrespect” and “noncompliance” This punitive discipline practice disproportionately impacts low-income, youth of color, and LGBTQ youth. National studies show that when students are suspended they are more likely to drop out, fall behind in their classes, and be funneled into juvenile detention centers and even prison.

The suspension rates in Wake County public schools are some of the worst in the country:

  • Economically disadvantaged students (i.e., students receiving free or reduced lunch) are 63% of suspensions but only 33% of student population.
  • Black students make up 25% of the student population, but receive 60% of suspensions.
  • Wake County students received 1,222 out-of-school suspensions for poor attendance.
  • Garner High School students received more suspensions than the students of Forsyth and Guilford counties combined (the third and fourth largest school districts in the state).
Petition by
Jillian Johnson
Durham, North Carolina
Sponsored by

To: Wake County School Board & Superintendent
From: [Your Name]

I demand Wake County achieve its stated mission to “significantly increase achievement for all students by providing a world-class education that equips students with the knowledge and expertise to become successful, productive citizens” by placing a Moratorium or temporary pause on Out-Of-School-Suspensions while planning and implementing restorative justice programs including:

Investing in hiring counselors, and not school resource officers. The National Association of School Psychologists’ recommended ratio of students per school counselor is 600, but the Wake County ratio is well over 1,600 students per counselor. (ACS Report.) Hiring Student Support Teams. Only 20% of students served by Student Support Teams in Wake County are in middle or high school. We need to expand the capacity of student support teams and prioritize their presence in high schools and middle schools. Training students, staff, and volunteers in transformative justice practices such as peace circles and peer mediation.