Students miss education for punishment


Out of school suspension and expulsion are punishments used by many schools to reprimand their students, and this is considered one of the highest forms of punishment a student can receive. Many argue that for repeat offenders, it is just a break from the monotony of school, and not punishment at all.  Almost all the public schools in this state utilize this form of punishment, and yet many people doubt its effectiveness.

As far as Big Spring is concerned, less than two dozen out of school suspensions and expulsions were given last year. Cory Hoffman, dean of students, talks with Charles Smith, assistant principal, before giving any student an out of school suspension, and in the case of an expulsion the school board must vote and the administration simply recommends a punishment.  The majority of the time these punishments are given out for serious incidents such as weapons violations or drugs, and for out of school suspensions a student would have to cause a significant disruption to the learning environment or an act of physical violence.

Although these punishments are not given out lightly, some teachers and administrators question the value of having any student leave school as a form of punishment. Teacher, Dean Smith, said it does better in “correcting the school complex” than correcting a student’s actual behavior.  In general, the purpose of punishing a student is to correct his/her behavior, and kicking a student out of school may not help him. Smith said, “This is probably not effective for the student, but helps the school function.” As teacher Christa Daugherty put it, “What is the alternative?”  The question still remains if there is a better solution to the problem than taking a student out of the school environment.  Hoffman said, “There are only so many things we can do as a district to modify behavior, and this form of punishment is mostly a day away for the student to calm down.”

There is also the question of how much work this creates for the teacher.  When a student is kicked out of school, they are still responsible for their work; therefore, the teacher is still responsible for creating it which can be a burden on the teachers. Angela Schneider, English teacher, said, “Having to create work for students who are both in school and out of school makes a lot of work for the teacher, who is already stressed and pulled in many directions.”

While many members of the staff and the student body have their doubts as to the effectiveness of out of school suspension, the administration is confident that it is effective most of the time.   However the student body getting these punishments could have a different opinion on this matter. As Triston Cooper said,“No, it’s not intimidating. It’s a vacation from school.”