Out Of School Suspension Hurts Students More Than It Helps


Written by: Alyssa Tyler, News Editor

Out of school suspension (OSS), is the last level of discipline given before expulsion. According to the student handbook, OSS can range from 1-10 days, (sometimes longer if needed). The causes for a student to get an OSS ranges from possession and distribution of drugs, fighting and a student missing or not attending an After High School Suspension (AHS) or multiple detentions. OSS hurts students more than helps them. In today’s world, schools now include virtual learning, technology at every student’s fingertip, and yet, old school discipline styles are still being implemented. There needs to be a newer, more inclusive and overall better form of discipline that will keep a student in the classroom but can still try to change the behaviors that lead to a need for a consequence in the first place. 

“One thing I talk to a lot of students about is discipline is not related to consequence. Discipline is about changing behavior,” said assistant principal Jared Jackson.

Suspensions are known as the Punitive Technique for discipline, states Amy Rooter, an in-school-suspension (ISS) teacher. This technique hopes if a student does something wrong, and is given a consequence, they will think about the consequences before making the same mistake again. This idea is good in theory, but the immediate and long-time impact has either little to no result, and in most cases end up having a negative impact overall. This approach can make students feel as if they deserve to be punished, or that they are a bad person. It also does not include teaching students how to avoid making these poor decisions that put them in the situation.

A survey of 500 superintendents across 48 states, done by Elizabeth Pufall Jones, Ph.D. found that 92 percent of superintendents believe that out-of-school suspension is connected with: loss of instructional time, negative student outcomes and increased disengagement, a higher chance for the student to be absent, truancy and a higher dropout rate. 

As stated in the Student Handbook, students can receive their assignments and school work from platforms like Canvas, while being suspended. While the online platform makes it easier for students to receive their work; it does not help with them learning, understanding what they are missing during their suspension. By not only pulling the student out of the classroom but also pulling them out of the school entirely, students are missing multiple assignments, lectures, time in class and overall much needed time with teachers to fully understand the material. 

Schools across American have started using replacement techniques.  This is the idea that if a student is struggling to do something, (i.e., listen, sitting still, completing assignments) they try another route, such as taking a five-minute break, being removed from the situation, etc. The overall impact can lead to a higher understanding and better bond between the teacher and student and can also help the student in the long run. During more serious cases, such as drug dealing, fights and other higher-level offenses. Students should be removed to ensure the safety of the other students and staff. But once they are proven to not be a threat, they should be integrated into alternative education programs. This program would remove the student entirely from the situation where they made the mistake, but they would still be in school and learning. By using this technique, the student can learn how to avoid being put in situations that would lead to them making poor decisions.  

OSS overall hurts more students than it helps. By sending a student home for repeated offenses, they are not learning how to better themselves or how to avoid making the same mistake again. Academically, their grades could worsen, attendance decrease and overall attitude towards school begin to worsen. By giving them a form of discipline that would keep them in the classroom, it would overall help them with learning, engaged, and most importantly, in school.