Alternatives to Suspension

  • When students are out of school, they are not participating in the learning process.  When a student is suspended, even for one day, it can disrupt the learning process. 

    The definition of “disengage” is to separate from someone or something; to stop being involved with a person or group; to stop taking part in something; to move (a mechanism or part of a machine) so that it no longer fits into another part. When we apply this to education, suspending students from school only further disengages our youth from our community. 

    At the core, people want connection, to feel like they are part of something. It is important to help our youth have a positive educational experience and be part of the community. There are ways to discipline and keep students in schools using alternatives other than suspension. It is recommended that behaviors and situational contexts are explored before imposing suspension on a youth.

    Restorative Justice 

    Restorative Justice is a program that was initially used among juveniles, but can also be applied to schools. Resolutions Northwest has been implementing restorative justice programs in Portland schools recently, and the results are great! The practice involves a dialogue between student and administrator and provides the student with an opportunity to understand the implications of their actions and take some responsibility in coming up with a solution.

    Creative Solutions

    Creative solutions work with the student and the family.  A family may be willing to do community service or volunteer to help a teacher after school. Working together on a solution assures the best outcome for both the student and the school. A student will be more likely to cooperate and complete a task if they helped come up with the solution. The idea is to include the student in the process and help the youth be accountable for his or her actions.
    For more information or ideas in regards to alternatives to suspension, please contact one of the ESD 105 education advocates listed at the Education Advocates homepage.