Alternatives to suspension?

disruptive-pupils copyClass disruption is one of the main reasons cited for the high rate of student suspensions in public schools. Many educators have come to believe that suspension creates more problems than it solves and are experimenting with alternatives.

For example, Oakland Unified is one school that had such high rates of suspension that they were forced to reduce the rates and find alternatives. Suspension may be the easy way out for both the students doing the disruption and the teachers having to deal with it, in the end, is it really punishment? The student’s disruptive behavior demonstrates that he/she isn’t serious about their education; suspension requires them to stay at home and miss school which is what many students wish to do. Many students are immediately pointed out for their behavior such as disruptiveness, anger management, and social problems, but counselors don’t always go into depth with the student to try and fix the problem. School is rewarding to the students, and the more they’re at home, the greater information they miss out on. Of course, not all students want to be greatly involved with their education but it’s time more adults helped guide troublesome students instead of immediately punishing their actions. Teachers should paly a major role in the lives of the students in order to reduce out of school suspension.

As TeachersSafeSchool.org states, other actions should be taken before suspension such as a phone call to the parents or a parent conference, co-curricular activity suspension, community service around schools,or Saturday school.

Mediation programs and interventions to discuss the students’ behavior can be arranged. Efforts to create adult-student relationships are important in order to stop behavior issues. Instead of reminding students about all the issues they create, it is important to give them recognition about all the things they do well in order to motivate them. Counseling should also be offered to all students who are finding it hard to participate in school, the students need to be assured that their education is valuable and missing school will not be the only option for them.

The more involved teachers and parents are with students, there will surely be a less dramatic suspension rate.

Esmeralda Reyes

Staff Writer, NMHS Blue Prints

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