Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why Suspend Students?

This article from Slate asks an interesting question:
Why Do We Suspend Misbehaving Students?
Don’t they want to go home?
The article goes on to answer the question superficially--and that's it.  I guess I just expected a little more analysis, some valid alternatives to suspension, etc.

The most reasonable answer to the question is one they mentioned:
Still, surveys consistently show that parents support suspension, because it keeps those students perceived as bad apples away from their peers.
Teachers like it for a similar reason.

As for the tired "minority kids get suspended more than white kids", when someone shows me that minority kids get suspended more than white kids for the same offense, then I'll get concerned about it.  Until then I'm not going to listen to your "institutional racism!" cries.


momof4 said...

Failing to suspend/expel students who (1)disrupt constantly, (2)threaten/attack other kids/staff, (3)are under indictment for serious crimes or (4)are emotionally disturbed to a level that potentially dangerous to self or others is, IMHO, either malpractice and/or abusive to other children - and I don't care what color or flavor said kids are. That's why alternative schools exist; to prevent interference with the needs of the many and (perhaps)to remediate the problem cases (if possible). Allowing a kindergartener to hit, bite, kick, spit,throw books and chairs, and attack others with scissors is unconscionable and should result in legal action against the admins who allow said child (large enough to require 3 adults to remove her from class) to remain in a regular placement. The whole class was terrorized, but the mother wouldn't allow removal (too racist). The problems only get worse as the kids get older and the media reporting that suspension-"leads" to jail argument is ridiculous; the same kids who don't follow the rules in school also don't obey the laws outside of it, especially if there aren't prompt and unpleasant consequences. Quelle shock! Some of the kids could be remediated with a little prompt military-style attitude adjustment.

Ellen K said...

I have about the same number of Anglo, Asian and African American and Hispanic kids put in our in school suspension. If they don't take care of business, they end up at home. Most of the students in out of school suspension are repeat offenders who have been in fights, threatened others or have been involved in criminal activity. If that definition means more minority students, then I guess they are right. Why is it that minority parents refuse to let their kids take responsibility for their actions? That being said, I have found local administrations to be wary of such actions unless a formal complaint is lodged by the victims of the student's actions.

T-Bone said...

Preach it, brother. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time - regardless of the melanin content of your epidermis.

momof4 said...

They've been promoting this, unofficially, for decades but Montgomery County, MD is now explicitly requiring disciplinary actions to be racially/ethnically proportionate. Considering that the suburban DC county has many middle/upper class kids who are disproportionately white and Asian in one part of the county and also many high-needs kids, disproportionately black and Hispanic, in the other part of the county, I don't think the result is going to be pretty or fair.

BTW, one of my kids was in JHS when a new public housing project opened, and the change was immediate; lots of bad attitudes and lots of scuffles (both boys and girls, some with knives) that had never existed. Lots of high-needs inner-city (actual or wannabe)kids keep their problem behavior and spread it around, instead of adopting the more socially desirable habits of their new classmates.