Suspensions are indispensable in schools

New York State Senator Jessica Ramos says that school suspensions “criminalize” children and should themselves be suspended (“This year, suspend suspensions: New York needs a radically different approach to school discipline,” New York Daily News, Sept. 8). She argues that they “traumatize families.”

I wonder if Ramos would change her mind if she spent a week in some of the worst schools in the state.  I say that because disruptive students deprive students who want to learn of the opportunity to do so.  Yet she says not a word about their rights.  All Ramos cares about is the alleged harm suspensions cause.

I’m aware that restorative justice can sometimes be effective in correcting unwanted behavior.  But the evidence is mixed since that approach has been adopted.  In the final analysis, we cannot allow a handful of students to hold other students hostage in order to spare miscreants the punishment they deserve.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

2 Replies to “Suspensions are indispensable in schools”

  1. How about the compromise of “in-school” suspensions? The suspended student must attend school but goes only to the in-school-suspension classroom and does not interact with any students other than perhaps other in-school-suspension students. The student does his/her school work in the in-school-suspension classroom — either specific assignments from his/her regular teacher or generic grade-appropriate assignments. The school system has to provide space and a monitor (not necessarily a teacher) for the in-school-suspension classroom(s), but that should usually be a relatively small expense + the expense would be at least partially offset by fewer lawsuits challenging the suspension.

    The obvious advantages include that an in-school suspension continues at least some aspect of the suspended student’s education + does not put the suspended student out on the street to get into additional trouble + from the student’s viewpoint is probably less attractive than being out on the street, so it will have a greater deterrent effect than the traditional out-of-school suspension.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: Excellent idea! As long as the miscreant is removed so that others can learn, I support it. But if the same student disrupts classes once allowed back in, he/she must be sent home and a parent conference required for reinstatement.

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