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ERIC Number: EJ977067
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
Suspending Hope
Willoughby, Brian
Teaching Tolerance, n41 p46-49 Spr 2012
Schools in Maryland and Connecticut are rethinking suspension policies and practices. They are finding that promoting positive behavior choices rather than punishing the negative is leading to higher graduation rates, especially among students of color. In the 2003-2004 academic year, Baltimore City Public Schools recorded 26,000 suspensions. Six years later, that number had dropped below 10,000, before rising last year to slightly more than 11,000. The dramatic rise of suspension rates can be linked to zero-tolerance policies that took root in schools in the late 1980s. Districts in several states began adopting them to address community fears of weapons and drugs in schools. They were soon expanded to punish lesser infractions, such as fighting, swearing, smoking and causing disruptions. Despite their seeming popularity, however, zero-tolerance policies have been consistently shown to reinforce rather than extinguish negative behaviors. How to reverse a school culture that has become too reliant on disciplinary policy and not enough on student-adult relationships? In the classroom, teachers must have the training and skills to deal with disruptive students before any disruption takes place. Classroom routines aimed at promoting positive behavior--rather than solely discouraging negative behavior--can be very useful strategies for handling discipline in class and avoiding office referrals.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut; Maryland