Alternatives to Suspension Chris McEvoy 2012-13 Wayne RESA
Most Frequent Behavior Infractions that lead to Suspension in your School/District126.96.36.199.
Russ Skiba, 2006Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy, Indiana University For what type of infractions are students getting suspended? “Looking across studies of school discipline, it is clear that school suspension tends not to be reserved for serious or dangerous behaviors. The majority of offenses for which students are suspended appear to be non-violent, less- disruptive (than fighting) offenses.”
Russ Skiba, 2006• Suspension must be viewed as posing a risk to educational opportunity given the research on the central importance of academic engagement to learning. – MEAP/MI-ACCESS, Test Scores, AYP, Graduation Rates• In some schools suspension may be used as a push- out tool to encourage low-achieving students and those viewed as troublemakers to leave school before graduation.
Russ Skiba, 2006 • At the national level it has been estimated that the number of suspensions and expulsions has doubled since the 1970s. • 30-50% of students suspended are repeat offenders – “Suspension functions as a reinforcer...rather than as a punisher” (Tobin, Sugai & Colvin,1996) • Data shows that certain classrooms and schools appear to be responsible for a disproportionate share of disciplinary referrals. For example, in one middle school studied 25% of classroom teachers were responsible for 66% of all office referrals.
Russ SkibaRecommendations for Practitioners• Reserve zero tolerance disciplinary removals for only the most serious and severe of disruptive behaviors, and define those behaviors explicitly.• Use a graduated system wherein consequences are geared to the seriousness of the infraction. Less serious offenses, such as classroom disruption, attendance-related behaviors, or even minor fights among students can be met with consequences that might range from parent contact, reprimands, community service, or counseling.
Reece Peterson Ph.D.U. of Nebraska – LincolnOn SuspensionWe need to move away from the traditional idea that suspensions are “punishment.”We need to develop a “teaching” orientation to the consequences we employ.We also need to greatly expand the number and variety of consequences which are included to be more responsive to the variety of situations and needs related to student behavior.
Reece PetersonSome Alternatives to SuspensionMini Course Short units or modules on topics related to various types of inappropriate behavior. These could include readings, videos, workbooks, tests and oral reports. They could focus on topics from inappropriate language, sexual harassment, to alcohol/drug use, conflict resolution, social skill development, and many more. Once created, students could be assigned to complete the appropriate modules based on their offense.
Peterson, cont.Some Alternatives to SuspensionParent Supervision Ask the parent if they are willing to sit with the student while the student remains in school. May not be possible for some parents, but could be a valuable option.Counseling Student is assigned to a professional (SSW, counselor, school psychologist) to problem solve, identify skills for targeted intervention (e.g., anger management), or to work through problems or issues the student may have.Community Service Community service tasks with appropriate supervision outside of school hours. Might include clean up crews or community agencies.
Peterson, cont.Some Alternatives to SuspensionBehavior Monitoring Close monitoring using check sheets and some form of feedback between teacher and parent.Restitution Student is assigned work which would repair or restore the physical environment, could include projects to clean or make the school more attractive.Problem solving or Behavioral Contract Defined procedure for behavioral problem-solving (e.g., reflection sheets) and then creating a behavioral contract that includes positive consequences for successful completion.
Peterson, cont.Some Alternatives to Suspension• Programming Alternatives For some students, especially at the secondary level, it may be possible to change the student’s schedule, classes or program which would avoid problem environments or situations, but yet permit continued access to the curriculum and school.• Appropriate In-school Suspension ISS should continue academic or other instruction, but also focus on solving the problem that resulted in the student being sent there.
Additional Alternatives to Suspension• Loss of privileges: home or school• Written apology• Time-out: from one period to rest of school day• Detention: after school, lunch detention, Saturday detention• Assignment to an adult mentor• Positive Contingency Contracts• Send Homes in a Behavior Plan• Referral to Community Mental Health
Reece PetersonImplementation Strategy: School-based Approach “It is possible for a school-wide team to identify lots of creative ideas for alternatives (to suspension) and it is best if these emerge from the culture of a particular school.” “This will also build the support for these alternatives among teachers, staff, students and parents.”
PBIS Approach1. Look at your data2. Make meaning of it3. Develop a plan/Implement4. Evaluate – e.g., take data on the use of suspension alternativesLook at the systems that support the practice.
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