Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Buffalo teachers react to new suspension policy

In Mary Pasciak's Buffalo News column today, some Buffalo teachers said what I've been saying for months: keeping problematic students in the classroom is only going to hurt the well behaved students. The teachers interviewed for her story , who wished to remain anonymous, pointed out that the students causing most of the problems are coming from troubled home environments...

“The school cannot overcome the home, no matter how hard it tries,” said one teacher of English as a second language. “Band- Aid solutions such as the suspension policy may temporarily remedy some behavior problems, but the real remedy needs to start with home and society.”

One of the new changes is for principals to hold conferences with misbehaving students and their parents, instead of suspending them. The teachers point to this as another example of something that only works when parents are responsible...

“My school already uses the policy of parent conferences instead of suspensions. Many parents don’t show,” said one elementary school teacher. “District policy changes in suspensions won’t change anything unless more social services are brought in and the families start stepping up to the plate. How do we make them do that?”

Another teacher described the scene at her school when they tried to implement in-school suspensions...

“I have seen in-school suspension rooms filled with 20 or so students and one teacher, and complete chaos going on,” said one teacher at a low-performing school. “Students leave the room and roam the halls, all while administrators have been notified — but [it continues] due to the fact that Buffalo has a policy where students are not allowed to be sent home during the school day for suspensions.”

If a student consistently acts like an animal in school, he shouldn't be suspended. He should be expelled. You'd be surprised at how quickly everyone else's behavior would dramatically improve. I don't understand why we in the U.S. continue to allow this type of behavior to go on? Everyone deserves the opportunity to obtain an education. However, if a student decides to act disrespectful towards the adults in charge, they are forfeiting that right. End of story. I wonder when we'll get some administrators with enough guts to say this publicly?

Teachers weigh in on policy for suspensions


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