Suspension helps create safe, orderly, schools — and tells parents they share responsibility for their child’s behavior, writes Eva Moskowitz, founder of Success Academies in the New York Post.
Success Academy Harlem 5 suspends 14 percent of students at least once during the year, compared to 9 percent for PS 123, a district school in the same building. The charter had one violent or disruptive incident (a theft) in 2010-11, the most recent year for which data is available, compared to 92 incidents at the district school.
Most “parents like high standards for student conduct,” Moskowitz writes. It’s one reason they choose a Success charter.
It’s not just about safety. Order and civility are critical ingredients in a positive learning environment. Even something like making fun of another student’s answer in class — a comparatively mild misbehavior — can shut a student down intellectually and emotionally, particularly one with a learning disability.
To be sure, discipline isn’t the whole answer. Educators must also build positive relationships with students, create a warm and nurturing school environment, set clear expectations and work closely with parents to develop individualized behavior plans for children who struggle.
But suspensions also have a place. They’re a school’s version of giving a child a “time out.” By keeping a student out of school for a day or two, they convey to the child, in the simplest and most concrete way possible, that there are minimum standards of conduct for being part of the school community.
Sending a child home for a day or two puts the burden of children’s misbehavior on the parents, Moskowitz writes. “Many politicians give lip service to supporting teachers — yet would undermine them by depriving them of the tools they need to create a safe learning environment.”