Staff Editorial: Suspended but not corrected

From our first moments in academia, we were told again and again about the importance of attending class.

But when reprobation comes into account, everything we have been taught goes out of the classroom.

Out-of-school suspension is a banal form of disciplinary measure in schools of all levels across the country and grade level. But is it as effective as it is commonplace?

Allegheny County alone has issued more than 30,000 out-of-school suspensions in 2011-12 according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Duquesne University’s own academic policy clearly states, “Violations of Academic Integrity, whether or not they are the result of a deliberate intent to deceive, are subject to academic sanctions, including (but not limited to) oral and/or written reprimand; lowered grade or failure on an assignment; lowered course grade; failure of a course; suspension or dismissal from the class; and/or suspension or dismissal from the School or the University.”

While removing a problem from its immediate environment may cause short term relief to other students and faculty, the problem will still exist outside of school and when the suspension ends.

A student’s problem may not be with the school, it may be with their own attitude and many times the behavioral problem can be tracked directly back to the place where schools are sending students.

Their homes.

If a child is brought up in an unhealthy family environment it’s no wonder he or she lashes out in school. Taking them from one bad situation to another does not solve the issue.

We need to direct our attention to two different kinds of discipline: Positive behavioral interventions, and preventional measurements.

Enforcing positive methods in reaction to student behavior needs to be a priority amongst today’s schools. Counselors should not only be meeting with students one-on-one to work out how they are feeling, but also be available at all times and something the student want to do instead of being forced to after the fact. While mathematics and english are important, properly interacting with others cannot be a principle just taught at home anymore.

But before we promote positive behavioral interventions, we must first work on preventing the conflict before it escalates.

It is here we look to teachers, friends and family. Look out for students who struggle with authority. Embrace students who seem troubled. They deserve just as much attention as the students with gold stars, if not more.

Suspension is not the solution. Recognizing the signs of a problem before it comes one is.