The student who passed gas. The five-year-old who had a temper tantrum. The teenager who doodled on her desk. All of these incidents have recently resulted in an arrest at school and suspension. When parents think back to when they were in school, they often remember the phone calls home or the trips to the principal’s office if they were caught acting out or doing something silly. Nowadays, in schools across the country, children and young people are actually suspended out-of-school, expelled, shipped off to alternative schools, and, in some cases, even arrested for typical, developmentally-appropriate behavior.
When this happens, whether it is for one day, one week, or one semester, students are removed from the learning environment. They fall behind in their classes, become disengaged in learning, and feel more alienated in school. Meanwhile, many schools never get to the root of the problem, never taking the time to understand what went wrong in the first place. For many, this causes them to end up on the streets, or in the worst cases, in prisons and jails. The ability to get a job, join the military, enter college, or get financial aid is forever jeopardized.
The good news is that there are better ways to address student behavior.
Parents across the country are leading the fight against the school-to-prison pipeline and pushing for smart school discipline that is based on common sense, keeps students in the classroom, and ensures safe schools.