News and Tribune

Community News Network

March 18, 2013

Slate's Explainer: Why is suspension from school a punishment?

(Continued)

Despite the lack of reliable data, politicians pushed for more suspensions in the mid-1990s. The 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act required schools to expel students caught with guns for a year, kicking off the "zero tolerance" movement. Today, many school districts have draconian codes of conduct that impose suspension for such trivial offenses as gum chewing or, ironically, truancy. These codes and laws likely have something to do with the post-Sandy Hook spate of suspensions for fake guns. Some state statutes explicitly allow a school to suspend students who maliciously display anything that looks like a gun.

One of the reasons suspension sticks around is that the alternatives require more money and effort, at least up front. Researchers suggest pairing in-school suspension with regular counseling, or offering so-called positive behavior support classes, which teach appropriate conduct in the same way schools teach writing or mathematics. Other creative solutions include youth courts, in which students sit in judgment of one another, or restorative circles, which involves bringing together the offender and the victim with other students to work out a fair resolution to conflict. Still, most reformers concede that suspension has its place, especially in the immediate aftermath of violence.

---

Got a question about today's news? ask-the-explainer@yahoo.com.

Explainer thanks Robert Coombs of the Council of State Governments Justice Center; David Dupper of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, author of "A New Model of School Discipline: Engaging Students and Preventing Behavior Problems"; and Pamela Fenning of Loyola University Chicago.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.