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Here’s a really interesting story from West Virginia: Administrators at one West Virginia middle school have introduced a new disciplinary alternative to traditional suspension that they believe could be more effective in reforming troubled students. At Huntington East Middle School, non-violent, non-verbally abusive behavior is handled by offering parents the option of a “reverse suspension.”
In a reverse suspension, instead of sending a child home, the student’s parent is invited to come to school and spend the entire day by his side.
“When we started combining schools we had a lot of kids getting in trouble and getting suspended,” school parent partner Stephanie Powell told WOWK-TV.
Huntington East Middle School student Justin Young shared how the policy has worked for him personally.
“I was suspended multiple times last year. But this year, not once,” Young told WOWK.
Justin explained that when he and his mother got home from their day of reverse suspension, they had a family talk.
“She wanted to know if I acted like that when she was not around, I said, ‘No, because I wanted to be good for you.’” Justin said.
Principal Frank Barnett said the approach has helped the school reduce student suspensions by two thirds and bad behavior incidents by more than half. The school discovered that, for many students, suspensions were seen as a break from school, something they planned for.
“We try to avoid that at all costs, but there are times it cannot be avoided,” Barnett told WOWK.
The principal shared that around 30 families opted for reverse suspensions this year.
“Who as a parent wants to sit in class? It’s embarrassing,” parent Stephanie Howell told WOWK. “It’s a good motivator to not have your parents come and sit with them.”
This kid right here is so West Virginia it hurts. Nice kid, means well, loyal to his Momma, but destined to work in the coal mines and never travel more than 10 miles from town unless he’s going to Walmart.
Seriously though, problem behavior kids don’t care about suspensions. It’s just a day off from school for them. An inhouse suspension could work in a lot of schools, but coming from someone who spent plenty of days in the inhouse room, it’s a joke. You just sleep the whole day or talk about football with the new guy who got stuck on inhouse duty.
But having your Mom have to go from class to class with you all day? That’s humiliating, which will deter them from acting like junior dooshnozzles in the future. And isn’t that the whole point of punishment – to deter bad behavior?
I also like it because it kind of punishes the parent too. I know you can be a good parent and still have a nudnik child, but more often than not if your kid is getting suspended all the time then a little public humiliation and inconvenience is in order. It’s motivation for the parent to get their shit together and hold their child accountable. The first time Turtleboy Jr. forced his old man to waste his day in his middle school when he could be blogging would be the last time.
Anyway, I’m not sure how realistic this is to implement. SOME parents actually go to work and can’t afford to sit in their kid’s class the whole day. But at the same time, what we’re doing right now clearly isn’t working so we might as well do some radical shit to see if it works. Plus, in places like Worcester, there are PLENTY of parents who are sitting at home on the couch all day collecting checks and ripping butts. This is where 99% of behavior problem children come from. This is a problem that reverse suspensions could fix.
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