ERIC Number: ED394749
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Suspension, a Wake-Up Call: Rural Educators' Attitudes toward Suspension.
Henderson, Joan; Friedland, Billie
Data from the West Virginia Department of Education reveals that from September 1991 to January 1992, school districts reported 18,915 out-of-school suspensions involving 12,997 students. In 1995, the West Virginia State Legislature enacted the Safe Schools Act, which specifically mandates suspension for no less than 12 consecutive months for possession of a deadly weapon, assaulting a school employee, or attempting to sell illegal drugs. Although there is little evidence that suspension and expulsion are effective in changing student behavior, their use has increased in schools across the nation. A telephone survey investigated the attitudes and perceptions of 141 regular and special education teachers, principals, and special education coordinators in West Virginia regarding the use of suspension as a disciplinary measure. Survey questions addressed typical behaviors leading to suspension, communication, understanding and following regulations, variations among school districts, alternative resources, educators' sense of fairness, effectiveness of discipline codes, and the possible relationship between student suspension and school dropout. Findings reveal that the reasons for use of out-of-school suspension often were not related to student violence, and that practitioners did not believe that suspension is either effective or equitably administered. School personnel often felt that their attempts to address individual student needs were stymied by policy mandates. Of particular concern were the frequency with which students with disabilities were suspended and an apparent hesitancy to utilize and modify the Individual Education Planning process to monitor misbehavior. Alternative learning centers were by far the most frequently mentioned need of school systems. (Contains 16 references.) (LP)
Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Disabilities, Discipline Policy, Discipline Problems, Educational Legislation, Expulsion, High Risk Students, Individualized Education Programs, Nontraditional Education, School Districts, Secondary Education, Special Education Teachers, Student Behavior, Suspension, Teacher Attitudes, Telephone Surveys
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: West Virginia
Note: In: Rural Goals 2000: Building Programs That Work; see RC 020 545.