In the November/December edition of Speaking Out, the author expresses her belief that out-of-school suspensions do little to discourage future student misbehavior and that principals should instead implement in-school suspensions, during which students are taught the desired behavior.

“Consequential suspension implies that the student has learned something from the end result and the same behavior will not occur again,” Fran Pokorski writes. “We, as educators, have to teach the correct behaviors in the confines of the school as well as continue to offer rigorous academic support for all students.” Do you agree?

Pokorski also believes that teachers should be required to moderate in-school suspensions to ensure learning is taking place. “If students are provided with the instruction they need while serving in-school suspensions, we have broken the cycle of sending them back to classes and feeling lost in the content.”

Read the article in full and let us know what you think.

Consequences of Supsensions - on those left in the classroom

ISS and OSS may be of little benefit to those being suspended - but the results for those left in the classroom can be huge. They are given the gift of a day of uninterrupted instruction. They are sent a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. They are sent the message that we value them for following the rules and valuing their own education. The classroom is not going to revolve around those who aren't invested in their own education. It is going to revolve around the needs of those who are seeking an education and to better themselves.

ISS/OSS

Interesting that this topic is hot right now. We are currently in our second year of having an ISS aide and room. it has been a great, and inexpensive investment, for our secondary students. it is helping us to move away from OSS except for under extreme circumstances (drugs & alcohol, violence, and crime). It is hard to educate when they aren't there, and while we once were able to count on the fact that parents would spend the day with the OSS Kid, we can't rely on that idea (myth) anymore. Basically, consequences and learning from the consequences end at the school door. sad, but true. However, we are very excited about our program and anxious to look at anecdotal evidence of the efficacy our program. thanks for the article.

The Unintended Consequence of Suspensions

Although I do not disagree with Fran Pokorski's article, I couldn't help but feel something was missing. The missing piece in this puzzle of misbehavior, suspensions and general mayhem are the parents. Historically, public schools were created to educate the masses, not raise them from childbirth. As we have seen more and more often lately, schools are taking over the educating of students in all aspects of life. It is no wonder we are all a little tired. Don't get me wrong, I fully agree with Fran Pokorski that out-of-school suspension is punitive and really does not in and of itself change a students behavior. However, were I disagree with Fran Pokorski is what appears to be her assumption that it is the school's responsibility to change the students behavior. I am saying that it is the parents responsibility to educate their child on behaving (especially by the time they reach high school). All too often, I have had to suspend a student for behavior at school and the parent sits before me and says, "you know this isn't a punishment for him, he's just going to sit home and watch t.v all day". My response to the parents is that if, in fact, they as parents allow him to sit home and watch t.v. during his suspension, he will probably repeat the behavior many times in the future. I tell parents that what a suspension is saying is that his behavior is to the point that the school is not having an effect on his behavior and therefore we are turning the issue back over to the parents to remedy. I guess it should not be surprising that most parents who hear this look at me with wonder as if to say, "you expect us to change his behavior, this is a school issue, not a home issue!" To reiterate, I think Fran Pokorsko is right on as far as her views on suspension, mainly because suspension was never developed as a tool to fix or change behaviors. Suspension is a tool to empower parents to take responsibility for their child's actions and to take responsibility for correcting those actions. The research is there to show that parents have much more influence(in most cases) over their children that school officials do. Maybe we should be looking into more ways to help parents who may be struggling with difficult children. That would be a program that would show benefits for generations to come.

Chris Hollingsworth
Principal
Maine