Now in theory, this sounds like a wonderful idea. It gives children a punishment for doing something wrong at school, and eliminates the idea in the child’s head that a suspension is simply some free time off from school. It is also helpful to those families who cannot take time away from work to watch a child at home, who has been suspended.
But what is it that the kids are actually doing while they are sitting in, in-school suspension? My adopted stepson recently had to serve his first stint, for being involved in an altercation as the children were loading onto the bus at the end of the day. The entire incident was created out of a misunderstanding, which in itself is unfortunate. Another boy had been pushed, or nudged from behind as all the children were corralling themselves onto the buses. When the boy turned, he saw my adopted stepson, and took a swing at him, and got him just under the eye. After being struck in the face, my adopted stepson, spit out a few words that are not on the “approved list” for school grounds.
So, the two boys received in-school suspension for the “fight”, in order to “teach” the children not to fight again. Here is where we come into the problem with in-school suspension it doesn’t work. The children are put into a small classroom with a teacher. They are given assignments to do, and are not to speak to one and other. They are not allowed out of their seats, or to leave the room, until lunchtime. And even at lunchtime, they are only to retrieve their lunches, and trudge back to their little room isolated from their friends. Now at first glance, this seems like an all right system. Isolate the kids from the fun, and have them work all day long on pointless assignments.
Except, that they do not work all day long. There is no minimum amount of work to complete. The work is not checked, nor is it graded. It is purely busy work, and with no incentive to finish, very little of it actually gets completed. The majority of children spend their day staring off into space, relaxing, and doing little, if any, written work. And as long as the children are not talking with one and other, the teacher in charge of the misfits of the day, tends to keep his or her eyes on whatever it is that he is she needs to complete, and is about as concerned with the children finishing their work, as the children themselves are.
So how does this system really teach a child that it is not worth it to break the rules? While yes, it is used for smaller infractions, and really to make a point, to the parents that something has been done, but wouldn’t it be better to eliminate the need for in-school suspension by actually doing something that taught them a lesson, instead of giving them the convenience of a free day off, without the hassle of dealing with their parents? If in-school suspension were truly effective, would so many schools need to hire teachers, just to serve for that purpose? While I am all for giving children consequences when they have done wrong, it just seems to make more sense to give them one that would actually make them not want to make the same mistake twice.