I had a student this past week, for example, who was suspended for five days for fighting. During that time, no other teacher of his sent any of his work to the suspension room. This kid is now a week behind in his classes with no motivation to make up the work. He basically had a five-day vacation from which he learned nothing--nothing academically and clearly nothing personally, since he celebrated his return from suspension by promptly getting into another fight. I have another student enjoying back-to-back suspensions at the moment who also appears to be doing nothing with her time off.
Trying to figure out what a suspension actually entails is difficult. As far as I can tell, it includes wandering the halls with the deans and going home at lunchtime. Little wonder that many of our young people accept suspensions from school with a sense of relief: It's all the fun of getting out of the house with none of the pressure of actually going to class and doing work.
As in my last post on the futility of suspension, I'm not saying I have an answer. I'm certainly not saying that fighting, insubordination, harassment, vandalism, and the like should be tolerated. I'm saying that there's got to be a better solution than weeklong vacations for kids who sorely need discipline, guidance, or academic intervention--usually all three.