Against School Suspensions
16 U. Md. Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class (2016).
10 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 Apr 2017
Date Written: February 7, 2017
All too often, schools default to exclusionary punishments like suspensions for relatively minor and common adolescent behaviors that have nothing to do with safety. Studies have shown that suspensions do not work, may be counterproductive, and tend to be applied in a discriminatory way, impacting students of color more harshly. This piece argues that suspensions should be used only as a last resort, limited to situations that involve serious and imminent threats to safety. Instead of “zero tolerance” exclusionary discipline, schools should use proven strategies that promote engaged and safe learning environments.
Keywords: education, zero tolerance, exclusionary punishment, school suspensions, restorative communication, disciplinary philosophy, IDEA
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