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As a former classroom teacher I know that out-of-school suspensions aren't very effective, unless the student is usually a well-behaved, first-time offender who will learn a lesson from their temporary removal. Some of their chronic counterparts, however, tend to view suspensions as an impromptu holiday and will deliberately misbehave to be granted another one. So what's the proper way to handle this tricky discipline technique?
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In order to make an informed decision you need to know the facts. I have uncovered some of the most pertinent.
1. A high accumulation of student suspensions leads to negative consequences, such as lower academic achievement levels and a larger number of school dropouts. These side effects contribute to the cycle of unemployment, which in turn can lead to a higher crime rate.
2. African-American students and students with disabilities have a higher suspension rate than white students.
3. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students have a higher probability rate of not only being suspended, but expelled.
4. According to an article by the AFT, during the 2011-2012 school year, nearly 3.5 million public school students were suspended at least once.
5. It's been estimated that in one school year public school children in the United States lost a sum total of 18 million instructional days due to suspensions. Staggering!
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6. Research has shown that suspensions do not promote safer school climates.
7. Students who are suspended or expelled are more likely to become involved with the juvenile justice system.
8. There are research-based programs, like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) and Safe and Responsive Schools (SRS) designed to train teachers and administrators in techniques to improve student behavior and school climate.
9. It will take willful political strength, adequate funding, community involvement, and unwavering commitment to properly integrate a cohesive non-exclusionary discipline plan in schools, especially in high-risk areas.
10. Our children deserve better.
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How do you think school suspensions should be handled?