A Thought About Suspensions.


I’ve been a student of educational marketing for a couple of years. K through 12 specifically. A recent study was published suggesting Charter Schools have a rate of suspension comparable to that of public schools and in both cases black students are 4X as likely to be suspended as white. Suspension is one of the disciplinary tools available to schools but like yelling at your children for yelling or the death penalty for murder, it doesn’t seem very effective.

I’d love to see a charter school go on record as taking suspension off the board as a disciplinary option. Pulling kids out of class as punishment makes sense, but how can you create an environment where kids learn and feel some remorse for their transgressions? What if the school were to put them in a classroom with a teacher or administration to supervise lessons, but also include some of their parents to aid in supervision. Say for every 20 suspended kids, at least 5 of their parents must be there for half a day. Don’t make it feel punitive for the parents – make it a supervisory, learning moment. Get parents more involved. For younger students, many parents have to stay home anyway.

Making parents more involved in schooling is a goal of successful pedagogy. Involving them in discipline, for their own kids and community kids, may be worth testing. At least it’s not the same old same old.