Reverse suspensions don’t send students home, but bring parents to school


School suspensions go back decades, and educators say they often increase the negative student behavior. 13 News found one school making a positive difference, by treating the trouble in reverse.

“When we started combining schools we had a lot of kids getting in trouble and getting suspended,” School parent partner Stephanie Powell told us.

So, at Huntington East Middle School, for non-violent, non-verbally abusive behavior, they offer the troubled student’s parent a reverse suspension plan. Instead of sending the student home, the parent comes to school, spending an entire, eye opening day by their child’s side

“I was suspended multiple times last year. But this year, not once,” From student Justin Young.

Justin says when his mom got home from her day of reverse suspension, they had a family talk.

“She wanted to know if I acted like that when she was not around, I said no because I wanted to be good for you.” Justin told us.

Principal Frank Barnett said the 30 or so families this year accepting the reversal has helped cut student suspensions by two thirds and bad behavior incidents by more than half We found that for many students, suspension from school is a good thing, something they expected and planned for.

“We try to avoid that at all costs, but there are times it can not be avoided,” Barnett told us.

Barnett says the schools revamped in-school suspension plan includes teachers to help student learn to get things done they usually would not. 

 “Who as a parent wants to sit in class? It’s embarrassing, it’s a good motivator to not have your parents come and sit with them,” From parent Stephanie Howell.

They said the parent involved plan is a positive motivator, by going in reverse, Principal Frank Barnett said their restorative justice program also works well.

Barnett said they decide on corrections for each behavior incident on a case by case basis. 

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