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How Is NHPS 180 Days Student Expulsion for Fighting Helpful?

How Is NHPS 180 Days Student Expulsion for Fighting Helpful?

 We purport that NHPS 180 Days Expulsion for Fighting Is NOT Helpful! There are numerous research studies that say severe suspensions and expulsions most often lead to more problems.

Long-term suspensions or expulsions from school for a fight in the cafeteria in which no weapons were involved are counter-productive. In the longer term these harsh measures create more problems than they solve. NHPS, and all other CT public schools, that use long-term suspensions and expulsions to deal with children who need help are showing themselves to be self-serving and inept.  Yes, we understand the politics involved, and we understand that schools are under pressure, but that is the nature of the business they are in. More efforts need to be invested in comprehensive wrap-around services and more parental involvement.  There needs to be more focus on bilingual services for English as a second language parents.


 “Cruz is one of 40 students participating in the city’s “homebound” program, which offers two hours of daily instruction for students who have been expelled.”

With such low levels of academic challenge-- and such low expectations-- we get what we expect.  The student “likes” Homebound because it is easier.  ‘Francesca said there is a lot of “drama” at the school and she got “dragged into it.” Let us remember that this is the same school at which not a single one of 44 9th graders did well enough to advance to the 10th grade in 2013!  It took the school’s administrators all year to recognize the problem!  There were no methods of intervention implemented.  While the responsibility is shared by parents, the school should be held accountable and should have in place corrective measures that get  implemented as soon as the difficulties become evident.

What are the teachers at HSC doing about the “distractions” that prevent this student from focusing on her work?

There are far more productive ways to spend tax-payers money than to have two teachers working with six students teaching them what they clearly should have already learned in middle school.  An integral part of the work that social workers do in NHPS is to adequately evaluate children with developmental and/ or psycho-social problems.   Expelling a child who is troubled, or who gets into a fight, for one year is clearly about the school's inability to adequately address the needs of that child. The money being expended on the teachers would be more productively spent on an hour of counseling and therapy X 3 weekly.  Whatever is the reason for her inability to deal emotionally has not been addressed, and she is not getting the education she needs.  The problem has only been compounded and deferred to a later time. 

Supt Harries said "It is progressive" to be offering lessons to students who are kicked out; it is not progressive; it is state law, and 2 hours daily is the minimum under Statutes:  Part 411 - Pt1  - Parent 411- Pt2: The Right to an Education is in the Constitution

“He said he’d like to not only (look) at how kids get into homebound, but how they might be able to get out. The current system works like a prison sentence with no chance of early release: Kids are sentenced to a certain number of days in homebound. They cannot exit early for good behavior, according to Harries. (Let us not lose sight of the analogy used here.)

 “Harries said there are three main theoretical foundations for punishment: retribution, societal protection and rehabilitation. (People often add a fourth, deterrence.)

“It’s pretty clear to me that in the context of the school system, we want to be heavily prioritizing the third,” rehabilitation, Harries said. “The sooner we get [students] back into a mainstream environment, the better.” Exactly how is this 2-hour daily (6th grade) regimen rehabilitative? What else are the students getting during these two hours? How are they learning to avoid the "drama" they report to encounter in school?

 Furthermore, it would be barbaric not to educate children because they have problems with which we are ill-equipped to deal effectively. Of course, if children come to school wielding weapons they need to be removed from the environment for their own and the safety of others.  However, unless we are committed to getting to the bottom of the problem and treating it, we are not helping one bit.  Putting a lid on a boiling pot and turning up the heat only guarantees that at some point the pot will explode and blow the lid off.

Please bear in mind that The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   Too many children (starting at young ages) are forced to deal with serious societal problems with which they are ill-equipped to handle.  Over the past several years we have seen the effects of young people who have little or no emotional control.  By suspending children for one year, then patting ourselves on the back for offering them 2-hours per day of substandard education, we are revealing a great deal about the ineptitude of the existing education infrastructure, and we are laying the foundation for larger problems to come. For ALL of our sakes, and for the benefit of our society let us take a more reasoned, informed and long-term enlightened approach to education, discipline and the examples we set for children.  It might be instructive to read the recently released study supported by TPPF:  Study looks at kids who do time for offenses that aren’t crimes.

"(TPPF) has an interesting report out on the detainment and incarceration of juveniles for “status offenses,” or offenses that wouldn’t be crimes if the juveniles were adults. Status offenses could include things like truancy, curfew violations, or vaguer offenses such as “incorrigibility.” These offenses don’t directly harm anyone. Instead, they’re generally discouraged because they’re believed to lead to criminal behavior. But treating them as criminal conduct has costs, both economic costs, and the risk that introducing a kid to the “system” can inflict irreversible harm." 

Does Suspending Students Work? Times Magazine article – Dec. 2012 - By Christopher Ferguson

New research shows that sending kids home from school as punishment may do more harm than good. Although the misdeeds are very small, the incidents raise a bigger issue: does suspending a kid from school work? In other words, does it actually ameliorate behavioral and academic problems?

Increasingly, the answer seems to be no. In fact, suspensions may do more harm than good. As Pamela Fenning and her colleagues noted in the April 2012 Journal of School Violence, most school districts continue to use out-of-school suspensions even for minor disciplinary issues even though they tend to actually exacerbate problem behaviors and also may lead to academic problems.

Throughout this forum are links to education-related programs done by OneWorld Progressive Institute with people who work at DCF, DOC and Public Defenders’ offices. Please take a few minutes to watch and listen. We welcome thoughtful comments and constructive feedback.

YOUTH-AT-RISKS – How To Keep Kids Out Of Jail- -

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