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Use in-school suspension to teach skills

Date: May 14th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

What does In-School Suspension usually look like?

A room where kids sit. Sometimes they do school work, sometimes they sleep. Sometimes the teacher at the front of the room is doing their work or reading the newspaper.

It’s usually just a holding tank. There isn’t any skill building going on.

I once had a kid come up to me while I was covering In-School Suspension and say, “Hey miss, tell that kid to get out of my seat.” A red flag automatically went up in my head. He thought he had an assigned seat. That’s wrong!

These kids spend more time in In-School Suspension than they do in their classrooms.


Because they are comfortable there. They don’t have the skills to be in the classroom, so all these socially inept kids end up in In-School Suspension, where their buddies are.

If they have to be in In-School Suspension, then there should be work that they have to do. They shouldn’t be allowed to leave to go to their locker, they get an escort to the bathroom, and their lunch is delivered to them.

Then, in the afternoon, they have to participate in a social intervention type of class. One that is based on their behavior. If they refuse, it doesn’t count and they have to come back the next day.

I had one kid do six days for one day of In-School Suspension. He finally said, “All right. Fine. What do you want me to do?” After that I never saw him again. That was it.

If you have In-School Suspension, it should be a program. It should teach skills. It should not be a holding tank!