More insanity: School suspensions out, therapy in. forums forums Politics and other things More insanity: School suspensions out, therapy in.

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    “New York public-school students caught stealing, doing drugs or even attacking someone can avoid suspension under new “progressive” discipline rules adopted this month.
    Most likely, they will be sent to a talking circle instead, where they can discuss their feelings.”

    Won’t be long before this comes to the Rose City.


    Any links to research that shows the idea is insane?

    A link to the Post is a bit insane in itself.


    As a parent, who just put a few kids through school, and a kid who went through school, I can say suspensions are not all that effective.

    Never have been, never will be.

    As somebody who has worked with problem kids, I can tell you that mere groundings and other “quick n easy” type solutions are not all that effective.

    Know what is?

    Talking about it. No joke.

    There is a lot unknown here. If it’s just a talking circle type thing, well meh. Might be a nice option for kids, but it doesn’t get me excited.

    Say it’s more. Maybe a really good thing.

    Debugging little people takes face time and seat time. That’s also no joke. Takes it from parents, educators, and others who may have significant involvement.

    When I was a kid –and a very serious problem kid at that, nothing really progressed, until there was some discussion. Real discussion. (Thanks Mrs C. –you know who you are)

    In many ways, school discipline has suffered a regression as of late.

    Liability management type directives have removed many effective and creative options. This is a mistake, though it is one parents who get it can remedy. I did. Just took something… anyone know what it is?

    That’s right. A dialog.

    A lot of school discipline has moved toward a more authoritarian, cookie cutter, no tolerance kind of thing. This causes all sorts of problems, many of which have been written here.

    So maybe this is the start of some reconsideration. If so, it could lead to progress, and at the least, rolling back some of the regression our kids suffer from these days.

    **for those of you thinking this is yet another liberal touchie feelie kind of useless thing, I submit you really don’t know jack, until you’ve worked with kids and actually got some where. I have. Real cases. I was one, and that’s where I got the skill from.

    Deane Johnson

    I always wondered what suspending a kid from school was supposed to accomplish. Isn’t time off from school what the kid was probably angling for in the first place? It’s almost like rewarding someone for their criminal activity.



    As a kid, I made that argument, but back then, they were able to exercise some alternatives.

    My kids? They made that argument and the answer was more suspension.

    Made zero sense, and I had to intervene.

    ***Now that isn’t entirely true for all kids. Some really love school, and the suspension is meaningful. They generally aren’t problem kids.

    The ones who really do need some help are where it makes no sense.

    And when school gets stripped down to the nubs, is done in a more authoritarian way, arts, and skills type education removed, we get a lot more kids falling into the makes little or no sense case too.

    I am, to a large degree, a self directed, self taught individual. My natural inclination is to seek it, grok it, do it, own it, then maximize it. And this has been true always. I do not recall a time when it was not. This clashed with primary education big, and had it not been for meaningful arts, drama, music, shop, radio, computer education, I would not have finished. Simply didn’t have time for it. No joke.

    There are those same kinds of kids today, and the greater connectivity and information availability means we lose them very quickly in a shitty education scenario. Suspensions may actually be contrived to advance their own goals. Some of mine were.

    My life could have very easily been very different, if it were not for a few people who actually had the time, and were able to take it and figure me out. Once they did, and we were really talking, they were able to help me see some things I was really blind to, and that made all the difference in the world.

    Today, we get this wrong all the damn time. And it’s expensive. And it makes no sense.

    There are kids who have been abused, who are angry, who clash with the system, who may have conflicting goals, are sick, and all manner of scenarios that can and will go unaddressed, unless they are known, and to know them, we must engage them.

    My case was poverty coupled with some abuse. Fuck everybody, I got things to do. And I did; namely, get the fuck out of that scenario, and I did too. But I had help, or I would never, ever have really made it. No joke.

    Discipline when applied mechanically is something that just gets gamed.

    Know what the kid in the game thinks? Worth it. That’s what they think. And if they get there, and it’s worth it, then they learn nothing, do not grow in necessary ways, though they may well grow in their own ways depending, and that clash or barrier solidifies and they become lost to us.

    Another way to think about this is gaming another or a few people as opposed to a system. The system is easier. It’s documented, consistent, etc… People aren’t. People have motives, and they can see and understand theory of mind and figure other people out and respond accordingly.

    That is what these educators are trying to get at. And they are right for attempting it too. They may not see success, but they can and should be attempting it.

    And I’m supporting them, because I have what I am told is unusual recall of my childhood. Truth is, I can remember all the way back to being a really little kid, age 2 or so. And I remember times, places, thoughts, people. In particular, I remember key times, places, people, realizations, things that mattered and made differences and can trace things I know and am and do today right back to most of their origins. When I changed, or understood something and was able to actualize it.

    That’s why I’m good with problem kids today. I know where they live and what is in their head. Think recovered addicts helping others get there. They are the best at it, because they have lived it, punched through and beat the thing.


    Suspending a student is counterproductive.


    @Deane, spanking was allowed in my primary school.

    It came to a head one day, and they decided spanking me made good sense.

    Looked that ass right in the eye, and he was an ass back then, though he’s not now and hold that thought… and told him it was not gonna happen.

    So there I was in the chair, and he says, “well come over here and bend over….”

    To which I laughed! “Seriously?”


    “Well, no. I’m not gonna do that.”

    “I’ll make you.”

    “Yeah? Well, I’ll hit back, bite, yell fire, rape, and do what it takes. Just so you know, I’m really not going to do that.”

    “But you have to.”

    “No I don’t. Try me.”

    And he did, and he got hurt too. Twice. Called in some help, and at one point, they had the chair UPSIDE DOWN, shaking it in some lame attempt to extract me from it so they could paddle me on the ass.

    Now, the funny thing was they had locked me into a room with the operations manual for the school in it prior to this event; a book which I had time to read cover to cover. They had to hit me on the ass, they could not use meaningful force, they had to have a witness, etc…

    When they got done with the chair, shaking it while I was detailing the contents of that book chapter and verse to them, that guy looked at me, then the other shocked people in the room and said, “I’m not gonna hit him.”

    To which I said, “told you it wasn’t gonna happen.”

    And it didn’t. Ever. I was the only kid. All the others got hit.

    The difference was a mindset. I remember thinking I didn’t care if this was my very last day ever. That guy wasn’t going to get satisfaction. Worth it.

    Now, here’s the interesting bit of the story! I’ve had a very interesting life so far, and I’ve been fortunate to get some closures a lot of people don’t get.

    Met this guy at a wedding reception years later. We looked at one another, and I bought him a drink. We both needed it as strong memories came flooding back.

    He went to another school and didn’t take the paddle. Changed tracks and used other means. We both talked about that day and how fucked up it was. We forgave one another too. Not a bad guy, though I thought he was.

    He thought I was most likely to be in prison before age 21. They actually had a pool, and he asked if it were OK to share the conversation with some others after finding out how life really went.

    We talked about the councilor too. Mrs. C. Great woman. She understood what “worth it” really was and where it can take a kid. Adults too for that matter.

    Of course, we don’t hit kids today. Look at what can happen! They can rebel, get seriously angry, die a little inside, and all manner of ugly things that probably have zero to do with the problem, whatever it was.

    Deane Johnson

    Great story Missing. I like the way you handled the situation.


    It was really screwed. I’m lucky it didn’t do any real harm.

    Worth it though. :p

    I have more than a few similar adventures and conflicts from that early time to draw on. Very significant life experience, and what I do really understand is the need for genuine dialog and advocacy.

    “Worth it” is an interesting and primal thing. When we get there, only a few dynamics play out.

    One is a power struggle, show of force. This can work to move past the scenario, but it is very high risk, and expensive, and easily harmful. Not recommended, but very frequently done.

    It is done because people don’t understand other people, and it was done to them, cycle of abuse style.

    Another is the impasse. Neither party understands the scope of real choices, and they lock in for the long haul. Often this one sort of resolves over time through a mutual deference or just avoidance, all parties moving on.

    Then there is the sales job. IMHO, this is the most potent one in terms of potential outcomes being positive. Doing this can directly impact value judgements, and is very highly recommended, but it has the cost of needing to be real, or it just turns into a game of transactional dicipline.

    Violence. As discussed already.

    Manipulation too. Risky, and it can be corrupt. It also invokes trying to seek leverage, like put up with this shit, or we will fuck your life chances over kind of thing. Debatable. Maybe it is just, but what about when it isnt?

    What if all parties decide, “worth it?”

    Compartmentalization. In a sense, avoid the problem in the hopes it goes away. This is suspension or school transfers, like the whole put all the bad kids in one building kinds of bs.

    Honestly, I would totally fund real research. The rewards are huge.

    Why do we educate?

    I submit we do it to maximize our future leaders, builders, people in general.

    It is not just competency and compliance.

    But that costs money, so we make it all about those things, and hope for some magical good outcomes.

    Why we don’t get this to a higher degree is beyond me. Sure, people can improve, figure life out, etc… and they do, but at what costs and risks?

    Anyway, good on them for making an attempt.

    Our future and the people who care for us in our old age are either important to us or not. Which is it?

    Master of Disaster

    I always wondered what suspending a kid from school was supposed to accomplish. Isn’t time off from school what the kid was probably angling for in the first place? It’s almost like rewarding someone for their criminal activity.
    Let’s not forget; for many kids these days, both parents work so the child is at home with little to no supervision, where they have access to all sorts of entertainment and resources and know how to use them more than their parents do. The suspension becomes a day of zero responsibility as “discipline” for being irresponsible.

    Let’s say that the behavior that the kid needs to change is caused by something that’s not under their control; i.e., poverty, family issues, personal identity, social identity, etc. Reaching out to them when they’re young could make the difference between a future productive contributor of society or a criminal.

    Don’t get me wrong; if the kid poses a danger to themselves or others they’re going to need more intensive help than ‘let’s talk about it’ can provide, and in those cases it’s probably much more than a suspension that would change anything.


    Suspensions don’t work.

    As a senior in high school, I got suspended at the very beginning of the year because I “drove off campus for lunch”. Prior to this driving off campus for lunch was the norm. My senior year they “banned it”. Well, we were used to driving off campus for lunch so that’s exactly what we did. And the dickhead VP was there to bust us.

    All of us who got suspended played golf at Progress Downs on our day of suspension.

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