There is no ironclad rulebook for parenting. When your child is born, you almost immediately have to deal with situations. The happy ones are easy. You laugh, you smile, and you praise your child. However, when faced with some troubling behavior or even suspension, you are not sure how to react or even help your child. The first step in dealing with your child’s suspension is understanding the reasons and the options.
Suspension and Expulsion: What’s the Difference?
The terms suspension and expulsion cause confusion for many parents, who do not understand the distinctions between the two disciplinary sanctions. Expulsions are those sanctions that result in your child being removed from the school system. Expulsions can last through the end of a school term or through the following school year. A suspension is a less drastic measure. Suspensions result in your child being temporarily prohibited from either attending school or attending specific classes. These categories of suspensions are called out of school and
Many U.S. Schools have a “No Tolerance” policy toward drugs, weapons, and violent behavior. School administrators may suspend a student for these offenses or lesser issues such as insubordination, violations of dress code, and tardiness.
Once your child is suspended, parents receive notice about the circumstances of the suspension and the term of the suspension. Parents may opt to contact the school and petition for a change or better explanation. It the suspensions appear to be a pattern, parents should set up a meeting with their child’s teachers or school administrators to address the underlying issues and see if they can be resolved. It is important for you as a parent advocate for your child.
Things to Consider
If the suspension is from the bus, parents must find alternative transportation for their child to attend school. If the youth is sanction with in-school suspension, the youth is required to attend school, but serve it in a designated classroom, often referred to as detention. If the suspension sanction is deemed out of school with a term of days, the youth is to remain home or in an alternative setting.
A suspension impacts more than his or her ability to attend a particular school. A suspension also affects a students official school record, which could be sent to prospective colleges. And, depending on the underlying reasons for the suspension, possible criminal proceedings could ensue. These proceedings can impact their future employment, your time away from work and at court, and your housing (if you live in public or federally subsidized housing.)
Educational Options and Services
Each state has compulsory education laws, and children under the age of 16 are expected to attend school. If suspended for a short period, you will not have to worry about truancy related consequences. However, if the suspension is long term, your child has options. Alternative Public and Private Schools, including military schools, can offer educational services. If your child is older, returning to a traditional school setting may not be desired. Many schools, online providers, and charitable organizations offer General Educational Development or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) prep courses. Home School is another educational service option.
If you elect for your child to remain in public school, you can initiate services that may help deal with those issues that caused the suspension. Many children who are suspended are bright individuals, who may be affected by underlying mental health, self-esteem, or substance abuse issues. In-home services can help. In more extreme cases, court ordered services, such as inpatient/residential treatment centers and therapeutic group homes, may be a consideration.
Special Education Considerations
If you child receives special education services, the process may differ slightly. A manifestation determination could possibly result from the out of school placement and new individual educational plan provisions may need to be discussed and implemented.
Once you understand the reason for the suspension, you find what works best for resolving the issue. The suspension could be a one time event and may never happen again. If the suspension is linked to a more pervasive problem, you can seek outside help, behavior modification, or alternative educational settings. Also, consider family counseling and/or specialized parenting support groups to help you better deal with some of your child’s concerns and issues.
Your local library, department of education, and bookstore can provide written and service information about local services and programs. Also, many service providers and support organizations have helpful Internet websites.
If your child is suspended from school, you are not alone. It’s not easy being a parent or a teen in our modern society; however, understanding your options will ultimately empower you to help your child and may enable you to preserve your family.