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Miami-Dade Schools to Eliminate Out-of-School Suspensions

Miami-Dade County Public Schools plan to eliminate out-of-school suspensions this year, preferring to keep kids in class and address behavior problems because research and experience shows suspended students often find more trouble outside of school while on suspension.

The district is setting up “success centers” so suspended students don’t disrupt classrooms. The centers are staffed by teachers, social workers and other service providers to work with the students – and keep them on their classwork.

Research shows that minority students and students with disabilities are more likely to be disciplined than their classmates. A recent study showed minority girls were disproportionately disciplined.

Some students who ride school buses to come to school will have access to the Internet while on that bus ride. The district is installing Wi-Fi on some of its buses this year. The buses can also work as a hotspot. Miami-Dade Superintendent Carvalho says a bus could stop at a park and provide Internet access in a neighborhood that might not have a library or other public Wi-Fi. And some parents will be able to track their kids as they ride the bus to and from school. The county will install GPS on about one-third of its buses. Parents can use a smart phone app to track the bus’ location.

Suspending students from school makes little sense.  If a student is suspended it increase the likelihood that the student will fall behind in their learning process, it can mean more neighborhood crime and increase the likelihood that the child will be arrested an charged with a crime. A new study links students’ suspension or expulsion from school to a more than doubled likelihood of arrest. (“From the Schoolyard to the Squad Car: School Discipline, Truancy, and Arrest” published in The Journal of Youth and Adolescence in February 2014.) It also places a burden on the teacher.  Students, who return from suspension, must be “caught up” on the instruction they have missed. Students who weren’t suspension must sit through the ‘catching up” period. Many suspended students see suspension as the “punishment” they have been seeking – a vacation from school.  Research indicates that “in-school suspension”, properly supervised and with work provided, is far more affective.

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