Why schools should ease up on student suspensions

Posted June 7

A suspension can go far beyond a bad mark on your child's student record.

In fact, suspensions cost the entire country billions of dollars annually, according to a new report by UCLA's Civil Rights Project.

"The authors calculate that suspensions in just one year of school — 10th grade — contributed to 67,000 students eventually dropping out of high school. And that, they conclude, generates total costs to the nation of more than $35 billion," NPR reports. This number is conservative and represents only a single year, according to Russell Rumberger, a co-author of the study.

Researchers used a two-step process to calculate the price of school suspensions.

1) The probability of a student dropping out (controlling for poor academic performance and socioeconomic status, researchers found students are 12 percent more likely to drop out of high school if they are suspended from school).

2) The social cost of high school dropouts

NPR reports that high school dropouts earn less money and therefore pay less in taxes, have minimal health care, are more likely to have a run-in with the law and rely heavily on public assistance.

"Researchers found that each additional high school dropout amounts to $163,000 in fiscal losses and $364,000 in social losses over a lifetime," according to Huffpost Politics.

Other research has found suspensions are overused for minor infractions. A separate study by the JustChildren Program and Legal Aid Justice Center reviewed suspension rates across public schools in Virginia and found 58 percent of suspensions in Virgina for the 2014-15 school year were due to nonviolent offenses like cellphone usage and attendance issues, the Martinsville Bulletin reports.

“We do have known interventions that can be used instead of suspensions, especially out-of-school suspensions, to mediate it,” Rumberger told Huffpost Politics. “You can do things to keep the kid in the building and address the needs of that child so they will not have another episode.”

If a child is suspended, though, there are a few tips on how parents can respond:

Talk with your child

According to Online Parenting Coach, first get the facts straight. Ask your child to write down everything they think happened first and encourage them to be honest. Contact the school and obtain a copy of the educator's statement about the charge or incident and see if it matches up with your child's statement.

Meet with school officials

Schedule an appointment with school officials to get more facts about the situation, to keep a tight lock on your child's education progress and to make sure your child is taking responsibility for his or her actions, Online Parenting Coach suggests.

Avoid additional punishment

According to Popsugar, adding additional punishment at home is not necessary since the child already undergoes a majority of the punishment at school. There may be a reason your child is acting out, which you can only get to the root of by examining their behavior without additional consequences.


Twitter: megchristine5


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