State board wants major reduction in suspensions
The state board took the first steps yesterday to propose a significant change in the way school districts discipline students. They want schools to stop suspending students for non-violent offenses. So the student who comes to school with alcohol or talks back or cheats would not be suspended. One administrator suggested that if a student painted a swastika on the classroom window of a Jewish teacher, that teacher might see it as violence. But Jane Sundius of the Open Socity Institute noted that perhaps that was a great example of why out of school suspensions don't work. If the student is sent home for a day, he learns nothing about the Holocaust, and nothing about why that teacher might be angry or hurt. But if the student has to spend a Saturday at the Holocaust museum, perhaps he learns just how offensive his behavior really is. Many school teachers and administrators will disagree with the new suspension proposals. Some of them have already been expressing their views at the bottom of the story on the website. I would like to hear a debate on the blog about the pros and cons of this proposal. In particular, I would like to hear from teachers who were in the classroom before Columbine and before zero tolerance policies. How often were students sent home for more than a day and what were the most serious non-violent infractions? Did assistant principals and principals find other ways to discipline students? Did students write letters to their teacher when they were disrespectful? Did they stay after school? I would also like to hear from private school teachers. Are 8 percent of students in private schools suspended every year?