In light of the discussion of the bills HF 1711 and SF 2116, which would require schools to provide support non-exclusionary discipline for non-violent offenses: It is surprising to me how little support there is for this bill, despite how much research there has been done to support that alternatives to suspension are effective. The discussion in one of the comment sections that I read was a repeated conversation about how misbehaved urban students and students in poverty are and how they deserve to be suspended. I strongly disagree. I work with these kids every day. They are just kids like any other kids who are awkward, emotional and doing their best to learn how to be good humans. They are young humans who want to belong.
We complain about students dropping out of school, low graduation rates, and school disengagement. If a student does not have a sense of belonging in their own school and know that the school staff wants them out of there, why would they stay in the long run? I certainly wouldn’t.
The beauty of the non-exclusionary discipline policies is that they give students a chance to repair the harm that they caused. It also teaches them how to have grace for other people when people make mistakes or wrong them.
Non-exclusionary disciplinary policies teach kids how to be responsible for their own behavior and take ownership of their education. They are meant to give kids appropriate consequences in line with their behavior. On top of that, non-exclusionary disciplinary policies incorporate learning and do not give students a free day off of school for non-violent offenses.
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