Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Suspensions: What Are They Good For?

This post at A Shrewdness of Apes got me thinking about suspensions, not that I haven't been thinking about them already. After the dirrrrrty girl fight last week, the young ladies involved both received in-school suspension, as is the standard procedure here in New York. The thing is, I've never really seen a suspension have an impact on a kid's behavior. Maybe that's what a suspension is--an admission that we don't know what else to do with a kid.

Of course, seriously and chronically disruptive kids can't stay in the classroom. It's not fair to the teacher or to all the other students. But has this suspension taught these girls anything? Let's go straight to the source and find out. I've developed a good relationship with one of the girls, and during a precious prep I liberated her from in-school and took her for a walk, attempting to have a heart-to-heart about what happened.

Her verdict? She'd do it, meaning punch her opponent in the face, again, if she felt challenged or threatened.

So has suspension had the intended effect?

It doesn't help that the girls are missing their academic work during the suspension, either, which neither of them can afford to miss.

I'm not saying I have an answer. I'm just saying that this doesn't seem to be it.


p.s. Don't forget to get out and VOTE!
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