What Happens When You Get Suspended?
April 20, 2017
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Most people have considered what happens to the kids that get caught with paraphernalia and a few have probably wondered what would happen to them if they got caught, but the stories told about getting caught have recently changed. Last semester, if you got caught with paraphernalia you would go to the office, they’d check your bag and you would get suspended, however, the classic, “go home and think about what you’ve done,” procedure has been replaced with a new program, called Restorative Practices.
Say a teacher is suspicious of you smoking weed, or buying drugs from another student on campus. Legally, they can’t do anything unless they have valid reason to believe that the student is doing something of a sort. If they search the student’s bag and find paraphernalia then the student will go through an “emergency expulsion,” which is not as scary as it sounds. All it means is that the student will be sent home for the day.
Next, the student will get suspended for fifteen days. The fifteen day suspension is not finalized, though. If the student’s assistant principal believes that the student does not need fifteen days then the suspension can be reduced to five days however, the student will need to see a drug/alcohol counselor. The counselor will ask the student many questions about their usage and recommend that student a solution to reduce or diminish their use, whether that be another meeting with the counselor etc.
This is where things get way different from last semester. This semester, OHS is trying a recently introduced program called, The Restorative Practices Program. The next day, instead of staying home, the student will arrive to school as usual and meet with their assistant principal who will escort them to portables one and two. They will then be introduced to Ms. Lusk and
Mr. Shamburger. Ms. Lusk supervises portable one, the silent half.
Students in portable one silently work on classwork and students in portable two can talk with Mr. Shamburger. Student, Trinity Pringle says, “I think it’s a good place because he doesn’t really give up on you.”
The restorative practices program gives students a chance to fix their mistake. This program’s objective is to treat students with respect instead of humiliation, “adopting this kind of posture makes it difficult to revel in self pity or act like victims,” says The Restorative Practices Handbook.
Around two students get sent to restorative practices a week but the highest number was eight, according to Mr. Shamburger. Many students return to the program but they tend to be Freshmen and Sophomores. “Every student has indicated that there has been more value to being in here than going home,” says Shamburger, “and 100% of the parents I’ve spoken to have found advantage in the program.”
This program not only benefits students more than home suspension, it also helps them keep their grades up. Teachers can send assignments, instructions, quizzes, tests etc. to the classroom for the student to work on. “It benefits people by teaching them what they’re doing and they can catch up on schoolwork,” says two time attendant, trinity pringle.
Although most people prefer a life at home, some people look forward to coming to school to get away from bad things that might be going on at home and this program provides them with that safeplace and a person to talk to.
first, Shamburger establishes why the student is at Restorative Practices, then, he tries to get to know the student more. He learns about their home life and tries to get a general idea of what kind of person they are but of course, the student does not have to answer any of the questions. After they’ve established trust, they talk about what they could do to improve. Unlike all the other systems, the restorative justice program tries to help the student figure out what they’re doing wrong and how they can improve instead of telling you to completely stop.
Not only does the Restorative Program work with the students using more respect and middle-ground, but it also helps them keep up on classwork and continue to get social interaction. Restorative Practices benefits and helps kids more than out-of-school suspension and it is a definite improvement for the discipline of Olympia High School.