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WDYT is suspension from school worthy?


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#1 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:04 PM

As per the title - I realise this could be a very broad question so as a general idea, what would be your threshold for suspension?  Have you got a teenager who has been suspended, if so are you willing to share some of the context?

I think my threshold would be violence, threats or intimidation, persistent (i.e. not just a once off) bullying or harassing, constant swearing at a teacher after being asked to stop, bringing a weapon to school.  I think my threshold is for quite serious behavioural incidences.

I am trying to work out if my threshold is way off kilter so some other perspectives would be greatly appreciated.

#2 seayork2002

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:15 PM

I can't give a straight answer but yes the things you have listed I would be surprised if they did not get one.

I can't say what wouldn't I guess in all cases, stealing a pencil off a kid maybe not? arguing over a calculator over whose it is maybe not?

I am not sure going by what you have written?

#3 Treasure Island

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:20 PM

I'm with you - very serious behaviour. I have a friend who's child changed schools and now new school seems to be looking for an excuse to suspend them every second week. Over really ridiculous things that are only detention worthy if that. Schools exist to provide an education, can't do that if the student is never there.

#4 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:21 PM

Own up OP, what has your kid done?

#5 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:24 PM

Sorry, yes my post probably is a touch vague.  I am conscious of not posting identifying info but also the reality that I am naturally defensive of my child so don't want to get into an internet debate about him and his behaviours specifically.

I guess what I am probably asking is what do we not consider suspension worthy also.

My DS14 has been suspended from his local public high school 4 times this semester and all for what I consider to be matters which could have had better consequences and learning opportunities.

To give an example, suspended for being disruptive in class and talking with his peers.  Suspended for wearing his pants low so some of his butt crack was visible (I was in college when this was fashionable so my judgment may be skewed on this one).  Suspended for ordering a pizza for his school lunch from Uber Eats...

Yes, my kid is being a PITA but I feel like the school are taking the path of least resistance and I am trying to gauge if I am actually the one who is out of whack with reasonable consequences for behaviour.

Quote

I'm with you - very serious behaviour. I have a friend who's child changed schools and now new school seems to be looking for an excuse to suspend them every second week. Over really ridiculous things that are only detention worthy if that. Schools exist to provide an education, can't do that if the student is never there.

This is how I feel :(

Edited by Gonzy, 15 August 2019 - 02:26 PM.


#6 seayork2002

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:25 PM

DS was not involved but there was a suspension this year Y6 for cyber bullying (he did not have the app his Ipad so he genuinely was not involved) but I believe the police were called

#7 seayork2002

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:27 PM

View PostGonzy, on 15 August 2019 - 02:24 PM, said:

Sorry, yes my post probably is a touch vague.  I am conscious of not posting identifying info but also the reality that I am naturally defensive of my child so don't want to get into an internet debate about him and his behaviours specifically.

I guess what I am probably asking is what do we not consider suspension worthy also.

My DS14 has been suspended from his local public high school 4 times this semester and all for what I consider to be matters which could have had better consequences and learning opportunities.

To give an example, suspended for being disruptive in class and talking with his peers.  Suspended for wearing his pants low so some of his butt crack was visible (I was in college when this was fashionable so my judgment may be skewed on this one).  Suspended for ordering a pizza for his school lunch from Uber Eats...

Yes, my kid is being a PITA but I feel like the school are taking the path of least resistance and i am trying to gauge if I am actually the one who is out of whack with reasonable consequences for behaviour.

Individually I would be surprised for a suspension for one offs - but collectively I get why.

#8 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Quote

Individually I would be surprised for a suspension for one offs - but collectively I get why.

But they aren't given collectively.  They are individual incidents spanning weeks apart.  So suspension isn't dished out after the 4th infraction for example.

So at what point are those incidents on their own and looked at in isolation suspension worthy?

Edited by Gonzy, 15 August 2019 - 02:30 PM.


#9 AliasMater

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

I think it all depends on context.

Weapons at school - a friends daughter was suspended for this a few years ago. She was a child with disability. She had been bullied relentlessly for months by a group of nasty and malicious girls. They escalated dramatically up until the point of my friend's daughter's suspension. They said they were going to bring a knife to school and kill her. They didn't bring a knife to school in the end, but she did to protect herself. She took a butter knife wrapped in foil, but felt uneasy and told a support teacher what she had done.

She was suspended. The children who bullied her were not. Context was not important to the Dept of Education AT ALL.

I can't remember the stats now, but a massive percentage of children who are suspended are neither white or typically developing. This leaves minority groups of children with the majority of suspensions. Suspension is lazy, and is not evidence based at all. I'd like to see it banned, especially for children with disability.

#10 Daxy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:31 PM

As it is a public school, you should be able to access your state or territory's policy on suspension on the internet. They are generally quite descriptive about what is and is not ground for suspension, ie serious incidents. Often there is also a policy around how the school must handle it, and an appeals process. Have a Google!

#11 Karlee99

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:34 PM

I don not think these things are worthy of suspension, but I don't have much faith in whole suspension system.

One of my children was suspended many years ago - what I was told from the school was she refused to enter the classroom after lunch, poked her tongue out at the teacher and struck another student with some sporting equipment.

DD refuted some of the claims and when we approached the principal to discuss the situation it came out that another student was the one doing the striking, but yes DD had refused to go into class as she had words with another student during lunch and was sulking and yes she had poked her tongue out, but not at the teacher just because she had massive windburn on her lips and no balm with her (I always believed this to be untrue because I knew she wouldn't poke her tongue out - mouth off, be rude, even a middle finger salute I would have 100% believed, but I knew she was not a tongue poking out kind....and yes she was the child that definately pushed all my buttons). Anyway long story short this actually was the last straw when it came to us changing schools and that was the best move ever for her.

So, actions I believe worthy of suspension - I guess physical violence, vandalism, constant bullying ???

#12 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:36 PM

Quote

As it is a public school, you should be able to access your state or territory's policy on suspension on the internet. They are generally quite descriptive about what is and is not ground for suspension, ie serious incidents. Often there is also a policy around how the school must handle it, and an appeals process. Have a Google!

I have.  I have read both the policy and the legislation - definitely not terribly specific with the exception of violence.  I have also gone down the path of appealing one of the suspensions.

I have asked the school to provide me with their internal policy/thresholds for decision making in these circumstances.  They emailed back a wishy-washy response about case-by-case basis and invited me to meet with them.  I have - many times - same rhetoric every time.

I don't have a lot of faith in our education directorate sadly and know the Education Minister and have even less faith in her.

I think suspension in this instance is lazy too :(

I think moving schools is what I need to be considering and discussing with DS.  He comes home most days and says he hates school and it makes me really sad that this is his experience because he loved primary school, so much.

Edited by Gonzy, 15 August 2019 - 03:02 PM.


#13 MarciaB

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:36 PM

Hi OP - my kids go to a private school and they dish out suspensions for similar offences but usually if they are "repeated" as I understand it. eg a few girls were suspended last year for ordering pizza on a school camp..but the kids who had no prior history of misbehaviour got after school detentions - the other one or two were suspended.

However - they are given as "reverse" suspensions which is what they call them - meaning they come in during holidays.

From what I can gather they are stuck in the library and for part of the day they have to write "reflection" essays on their behaviour and for part of the day they do "chores" in the library - sorting and covering books.  Parents have to sign an agreement and I have no idea what happens if the parents do not do so.

My own kids have not been suspended, however I know another who's dd has been a couple of times and this is what happens.  In her case it was for repeat offences (mostly being rude to staff, walking out class and not returning, and being generally disruptive).

Edited by MarciaB, 15 August 2019 - 02:38 PM.


#14 Karlee99

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:41 PM

View PostAliasMater, on 15 August 2019 - 02:30 PM, said:

Suspension is lazy, and is not evidence based at all. I'd like to see it banned, especially for children with disability.

Two students were suspended from our school earlier this year for physically assaulting my son - they didn't know DS, just picked him cause he was on his own and admitted this to the school and police when the attacks continued. This boy and his friends attacked DS, punching and knocking him to the ground a couple of times. DS didn't retaliate because he thought he would get in trouble for fighting (both deputy and us have told him it's OK to defend yourself) - what would be a suitable punishment for an act like that if not suspension?

Edited by Karlee99, 15 August 2019 - 02:43 PM.


#15 Clementinerose

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:46 PM

I don’t think they are suspension worthy. Sure, he needs to show respect and follow rules but I think preventing him from attending school is over the top. Does your school do at school suspension? Eg working on set work in the office, one on one with the principal and depending on the seriousness of the infringement (violence/bullying) the child may also have separate break times in the yard

#16 Dadto2

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:46 PM

View PostGonzy, on 15 August 2019 - 02:36 PM, said:



I think moving schools is what I need to considering and discussing with DS.  He comes home most days and says he hates school and it makes me really sad that this is his experience because he loved primary school, so much.

I would definitely look at changing schools. But are you getting the full story i.e both sides. Being disruptive in class and wearing your pants too low is very minor stuff. I'm guessing a teacher told your son to pull his pants up and then what happened? Is he the compliant type?

#17 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:51 PM

MarciaB - that actually sounds great and would certainly not be desirable to my DS haha.

The reality is suspension means little to him - and if I am honest to me also - because I see it as a fairly lazy option to remove my DS for being a nuisance.

Each time he has either come into work with me or he has been at home alone - a 14 year old's dream day!  I take away the x-box and his phone so it's a pretty boring day at home, but nonetheless it's not really teaching him a lesson.

I am not coming down on him like a tone of bricks either because whilst I fully accept he is making some really immature and silly choices, I just can't quite come at the punishment fitting the crime. As a result I actually don't think the school are getting the support from me as a parent, that they seem to expect.  I.e. when I have questioned the decisions to suspend, they get very defensive and surprised I am questioning it.

I have had to remind them on more than one occasion that first and foremost my actual job is to advocate for my son and that means also giving him an opportunity to share his version of events with me (which I fully accept may not always be entirely truthful).  I have also asked the school on many occasions now what we can do collectively to make my son feel valued at part of the community, rather than how he feels which is they just hate him, and all I get is "we will have a think about it and come back to you" but then they don't.

I have also asked DS the same question, what does he need, what can we (his parents and the school) do to support him and he has given me some offerings which I have taken back to the school but I am at a bit of a loss really and being my first child in high school I feel like I am desperately searching for the hand-book on this aspect of parenting.

#18 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:59 PM

Karlee99 - I am so sorry that happened to your child - heartbreaking.  In that instance, I would actually like to see the school offer the same kind of education or mandatory classes that someone would do in the case of DV.  Suspending those kids may have taught them absolutely nothing about the long-term impacts on your child.

I think there needs to be a combination of things, maybe suspension while other programs are lined up, but then in addition to that there needs to be a learning outcome for those boys so they can at least be given the opportunity to understand the gravity of their behaviour.

And Dadto2 - yes, definitely getting all sides.  He is the compliant type but he is also the type who will question something if he believes it is unfair or if he is unclear on what specifically he has done wrong (my fault perhaps as I have always encouraged my kids to question what they don't understand or believe to be unfair).  That was what happened with the low pants - he 'back chatted' by querying what he had done wrong.  He was initially told he would be on a lunch detention for the low pants, queried that, expressed that he did not think that was fair and it got escalated to a suspension.

#19 katpaws

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:00 PM

My daughter was suspended from school because a gang of kids (some from her school and others with nothing better to do) decided to wait outside the school to beat a friend of her's up. Her friend was assaulted by one of the gang members after school in a cafe. My daughter's friend was also suspended; she and my daughter had three to four days suspension, and the gang members at school got a week, I think one was asked not to come back. The gang should have been suspended for their stupid gang name, if anything.

The school decided that my daughter and her friend had incited the violence (after telling me they were not to blame and there would only be suspension for the gang members). Did they incite the violence? Some silly stuff said in a chat forum was all that was done. No, they didn't incite the gang warfare or the physical assault of my daughter's friend (hit in the head and had her phone stolen by force). The suspension was done without discussion. and done suddenly.

#20 Gonzy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:05 PM

katpaws - makes me angry and so sad for you and your DD :(

#21 AliasMater

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:05 PM

View PostKarlee99, on 15 August 2019 - 02:41 PM, said:



Two students were suspended from our school earlier this year for physically assaulting my son - they didn't know DS, just picked him cause he was on his own and admitted this to the school and police when the attacks continued. This boy and his friends attacked DS, punching and knocking him to the ground a couple of times. DS didn't retaliate because he thought he would get in trouble for fighting (both deputy and us have told him it's OK to defend yourself) - what would be a suitable punishment for an act like that if not suspension?

Suspension in this case, and most cases, is to appease you, the other parent.

Sorry to read what happened to your child but again, suspension is not evidence based, or effective. I would not be happy if that happened to my child but wouldn't be happy if the school's response was suspension because I know that mountains of research suggests it is completely ineffective. I would actually complain if that was their solution because chances are, it will happen again. Suspension is lazy and buck passing, and excludes children from their education.

#22 Julie3Girls

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:06 PM

I would be surprised if suspension was a first time reaction. I’d be guessing that there is a pattern of behaviour, that the suspensions were coming after repeated issues.

#23 Dadto2

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:08 PM

View PostGonzy, on 15 August 2019 - 02:59 PM, said:

And Dadto2 - yes, definitely getting all sides.  He is the compliant type but he is also the type who will question something if he believes it is unfair or if he is unclear on what specifically he has done wrong (my fault perhaps as I have always encouraged my kids to question what they don't understand or believe to be unfair).  That was what happened with the low pants - he 'back chatted' by querying what he had done wrong.  He was initially told he would be on a lunch detention for the low pants, queried that, expressed that he did not think that was fair and it got escalated to a suspension.

Which is great, to a point... I get where your son is coming from, I went through a stage like that. And the more you backchat teachers, the more it puts a target on your back and the harder they come down on you etc etc

From what you've wrote, the suspension was just. (note - I was suspended and finally "asked to leave")

Edited by Dadto2, 15 August 2019 - 03:11 PM.


#24 katpaws

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:08 PM

Not in my daughter's case. She has always been recorded as a good student, well behaved, respectful etc. The school went from supporting her and her friend to a sudden suspension.

#25 Expelliarmus

Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:12 PM

Violence - threatened or actual, other unsafe behaviour and ongoing, persistent and wilful disruption to learning or refusal to follow the behaviour code that has not responded to other sanctions.

That’d be it for me. I don’t like suspensions but sometimes everybody needs a reset. Sometimes it’s a safety issue.




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