McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

March 21, 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
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
NDN Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.