No doubt each school or district has rules or punishment guidelines that dictate which offenses by students are "suspendable" and which are not. For example, fighting at school certainly merits a suspension, whereas chewing gum in my class (which should merit beatings, many many beatings**, this late in the school year) almost certainly does not.
Kimberly of Number 2 Pencil (link is in the left column) disagrees with me about so-called "zero tolerance" policies. If I understand her position correctly, she doesn't think they should exist at all. I support them to a moderate degree but think they are often abused and applied without thinking. "Zero tolerance" for drugs or weapons on campus is a good thing. Classifying a butter knife in a student's lunch bag as a weapon is stupidity.
And after having mentioned all that, I'll say that this post has nothing to do with zero tolerance!
But it does have to do with suspension. Click here (and in the update here) and read about a student who was suspended for taking pictures of his principal, who was violating state law. Click here to learn the outcome.
As I said in my comment in Joanne Jacobs' post: One way to avoid looking like a fool in front of your students is not to be one.
**This is an in-class joke. I do not in any way advocate or use physical violence towards my students. Although sometimes I should :-)
The fact that I think it necessary to put this disclaimer here should tell you much about the sad state of affairs in our society.