Alternative schools for suspended students
Alternative schools are a must for educating suspended students. For the past 10 years I have taught in a diagnostic program that often takes in students from the public schools that have been suspended. Many of the students I educate are good kids who made bad choices. In the past, some of the offenses that lead to their suspensions or pending suspensions were tolerated in the past and dealt with by issuing detentions. However, now days with zero tolerance policies alternative education must be sought out.
Many times while a student is being educated in an alternative setting a case study evaluation may occur. A case study evaluation can consist of a multitude of academic and social emotional testing. For several students, the results of these evaluations may reveal an underlying issue such as a learning disability, behavioral disability, or social emotional issue. Sometimes these undiagnosed issues may have led to the issue that resulted in the suspension. If this is the case then the suspension can be lifted and accommodations, modifications, and other procedures can be put in place to help the student make better choices in the future.
Once a student is identified as having a disability and their academic, behavioral, and social emotional needs are met the likelihood of producing behaviors that could lead to suspensions decrease.
During my years of teaching I have come across many sad cases of students who had been struggling in school for a long time. Their issues went unnoticed until they violated a school policy that lead to a referral to an alternative placement or suspension. Many of these students want to be successful and bond with their peers and school. Sometimes an alternative placement is needed to make that happen.
Many alternative schools have access to small class sizes, strict behavior programs, and alternative teaching styles that make learning easier for some students. When students feel safe and secure in their academic environment they are more likely to follow school policy. Many of these schools also provide therapeutic support which helps students deal with the pressures of growing up and help students make better choices.
Alternative schools also provide structure and support for parents struggling to help their children learn and make appropriate decisions. This can be key in helping students and families.
Teaching all students is necessary. If alternative schools were banished and suspended students did not receive any type of education that would lead to further problems for that child and possibly the community.