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"Chat & Chew" events engage parents, students to help prevent issues of school discipline

Megan Pauly
Delaware Public Media
Charlene Sams is a yoga instructor with the State of Delaware, and came to a “Chat & Chew” event Tuesday evening to help teach mindfulness to the students.";s:


The Delaware Center for Justice held an event Tuesday night to help engage the parents of students who’ve been a part of their School Offense Diversion Program.

Cindy McDaniel of the DCJ’s School Offense Diversion Program started the “Chat & Chew” events in partnership with Hazel Cole at the Parent Information Center of Delaware a few years ago.

They realized that kids – and their parents – needed more information about how to navigate the school discipline system.

Jill Hara, a summer intern working with the School Offense Diversion Program, says she’s seen many kids who would benefit from more information.

“I’ve seen how kids can come in and be confused about being in the system because they don’t know the law, they don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

Cole says the goal of the “Chat & Chews” are to equip students who’ve already been involved in the school discipline system and their parents with the knowledge and empowerment needed to prevent future problems.

“So we’re telling them about – for the parents – we’re telling them about the school discipline process, we’re telling them about what rights the students have, what rights the parents have," Cole said.


Kids who’ve been in trouble at school and their parents talk about how their situations could’ve been handled better and how to move on.


Yoga teacher Charlene Sams also helped teach kids about mindfulness.



“So I bring my crystal ball and we do some sound therapy and deep breathing," Sams said. "And then wen they realize they have the power to keep themselves calm without having to respond to what’s happening outside of them, they’re like ok, I think I can do this, I have tools now.”


The three focuses of the event Tuesday included: staying ahead of school discipline, growing beyond revenge and finding focus.

After the “Chat & Chew” events, the Parent Information Center follows up with families to provide more one-on-one support.


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