Suspension Days Stay With You

by Arianna Rundberg

Some students may say that their goals for their high school years are to graduate or to maintain decent to high grades or even to accomplish a GPA over a 3.0. Well, my goal is quite interesting and may be somewhat confusing. My main goal throughout my high school years is to not get suspended and to have all my days spent in school. I have been suspended 7 times for the school year of 2017-2018 as a sophomore at Freedom High School, ranging from 3-day suspensions to 10 days.

I am not saying this to brag or for attention, but to explain to you the obstacles you will have, how you can overcome missing school and, how I am trying to overcome my missed days of over 30 days of suspensions. Suspensions really affect and take a huge toll on a students education, personal life and most importantly, grades.

Students sit in PASS (including the author). Photo by Coach Bolden.

Some may say that there is a consequence to everyone’s actions and that is very much true but, too many days missed result in loss of the lesson, missing assignments, missing test/quiz grades, and lab days. Throughout my sophomore year, I have tried to teach myself lessons that I’ve missed and try and figure out everything on my own without any help or guidance. Don’t think of a suspension as a 10 steps back type of thing, but as a lesson to of course stay out of trouble, but also to not give up.

In my case, I have missed both 2nd and 3rd quarter. In the beginning, I completely wanted to give up and drop out of school. But towards the end, I just learned to push myself harder and more to prove to everyone and myself that through my losses I can still gain.

“Given the recent research showing that being suspended even once in ninth grade is associated with a twofold increase in the likelihood of dropping out from 16% for those not suspended to 32% for those suspended just once,” -says Daniel J. Losen and Tia Elena Martinez in the article “Out of School and Off Track” (Balfanz 2013). This shows that even one suspension can impact a student to even go to the extreme of dropping out. Falling behind is something nobody wants to go through at all. But excessive suspensions create just that. “2,624 secondary schools across the nation suspended 25% or more of their total student body; 519 of these schools had suspension rates equal to or exceeding 50% of their respective total student bodies.”

 

DISCLAIMER: I actually almost got suspended while trying to get some interviews for this, so just know I took pride in this article.

 

I asked a variety of students a series of questions to see there look at how they feel about suspensions and their background.

These are the questions I asked:

-Do you think tardies, dress code violations, class disruptions or other minor behaviors should result in a suspension?

To my surprise, everyone that I asked this question to responded saying “NO”, because of the exact same reason. Claiming that “You go to class to learn, if you’re not in class, then how are you learning, then teachers complain why your grades are so bad.”

Another question I asked was:

-Have you been suspended and why?

These answers varied as I would assume. But the reasons for the suspensions were a wide range from not serious to extremely serious. Some said they got suspended for “little things’ as some may say, such as tardies, dress code, not having a consistent ride to school, and even not doing something, such as taking down a poster for class. The more serious suspensions were things such as moving a teachers hand out of the way and home invasion on a teacher. These levels of suspensions stretch out, but whether or not they should result in a suspension is the question.

The last question I asked was:

-If you have been suspended previously, how have your grades changed?

Not surprisingly, everyone that has been previously suspended has claimed that their grades were completely impacted and changed in a bad way, declining dramatically.

Suspensions are made to be a punishment of course. But a student’s overall education and performance will always be affected as well. I also spoke to a dean at Freedom High School. Who said that “The school is trying to reduce 10-day suspensions to 3-day suspension going forward throughout the year.” says Ms. Torres.