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While visiting my son’s school the other day to deliver some course items that he needed, another young man was brought into the office who’d been sentenced to suspension for an impropriety of some sort. I asked a school administrator if the young man would actually not be permitted to attend any school during that time or if he’d be sent to an alternative program. The administrator informed me that for a suspension of less than ten days, which is what this young man had been sentenced to, students were not sent to alternative programs.

I went on to ask if the young man would be required to complete his school work during his out-of-school suspension. The administrator replied that the school could not require him to do the work, though his parents could.

The problem here is that most parents probably do not acquire work for their children during suspensions because it is not traditionally offered by schools, though it certainly should be. Most likely assume that a physical suspension is automatically an academic suspension, which, of course, is not true.

Schools should make it clear to students and parents that physical suspensions are never academic suspensions, or should not be, and students should be required to submit their course work to their instructors during suspensions, whether the suspension is less than ten days or an entire school year.

It should be standard protocol that whenever students are suspended for any period of time that they are required to daily complete and submit their course work, either electronically via student email or in person, escorted by a campus safety officer, who’d also escort them out of the school building once they’ve delivered their course work (Delivery would, preferably, be via email, however)…

Instructors of suspended students should be required to complete a Suspended Student Course Work Requirements Checklist, unless the instructors have created and distributed a course syllabus* with a schedule of all assignments and relevant due dates, which would be the most efficient method of providing suspended and all students with a comprehensive list of course assignments (*Instructors should also upload their course syllabus to their class websites, to which students could resort in the event that they lose the printed versions distributed to them). The referenced and linked Suspended Student Course Work Requirements Checklist form is ideal for brief suspensions, i.e. less than one week.

Parents/students could retrieve some assignments via Parent Connect, though Parent Connect is less detailed than a syllabus with an assignment schedule, and is really designed to more so exhibit to parents how students have performed on specified course material.

Student Resource Centers for Suspended & Other Students

Though students suspended for less than ten days are not and would not be permitted stay in their classrooms during their suspensions, they should be permitted use of student resource centers where they could acquire assistance with course work that they must complete. The noted resource centers, which would ideally be located on school board campuses or within provisions at regional offices, would consist of things like computer labs with printers, scanners (for the purpose of scanning some assignments for electronic submission), and other supplies that serviced students would need to complete assignments that their parents might not be able to afford…

In addition to completing all of their course work, suspended students should actually be punished, i.e. home confinement or very limited or no outside time during the suspension, at the least, or by other reasonable methods.

Disciplinary actions should never alleviate students of requirements to complete course work. Students confined to juvenile facilities should also be required to complete their course work and graduate.

Even adult prisoners who lack high school diplomas should be required to acquire them and employability skills prior to release from prison, seeing that the lack of education is a demonstrable threat to public safety.

Re-evaluating the Merit of Out-of-School Suspensions

Schools should always evaluate whether or not any manner of suspension is really merited, or if other interventions would suffice. If suspensions are merited, schools should consider whether or not students would benefit from in-school suspensions, during which they should be required to complete all of their course work from designated localities within their schools, rather than out-of-school suspensions…

In Summation

Traditional suspensions during which course work is not ordinarily completed/submitted makes already troubled students more susceptible to failure and dropping out of school altogether. They, accordingly, contribute to a culture of crime and social upheaval; and this simply should not be…