Are Suspensions Getting Out of Hand?

Washington has the Highest Number of Suspensions in the District

Jaydin McMickle, Co-Opinions Editor

Washington High School, as of press time, has had over 170 suspensions in the 2018-2019 school year.
Wash surpassed their one-hundredth suspension the week of Oct. 29, and while surrounding schools cap out at around 70 there seem to be mixed feelings about the amount of suspensions.
Wash administration did not return request for comment by deadline.
“Kids continuously fight and do drugs at school, but the suspension doesn’t change kids. It does not resolve the issues.” Aerionna Thomas 22’ said.
Around the halls and the lunch room, there always seem to be students yelling, fights erupting, and rare smoke clouds appearing in the hallways.
As those behaviors escalated the administrators started using suspensions as a formulaic punishment for those students who were constantly in trouble. However, it is unclear if the punishment is improving behaviors.
“It’s the same people, not going to class, cursing, disrupting.” Gus Dudgeon, ’19, said.
Multiple students cited smoking/vaping at school, fighting, violence, drug use, and multiple offenses of skipping classes as valid reasons to be suspended.
However, wearing a third dress code violation, being at the wrong place at the wrong time or skipping class are offenses that students feel shouldn’t be punished with a suspension.
“They need to crackdown more on serious acts, and send the minor bad kids to Metro,” Jack Bickel, ’19, said.
As of Nov. 12, Kennedy had 79 suspensions, Jefferson had 64 and Linn-Mar had 47. Wash has doubled and in some cases triples the other metro area schools.
The students had an overwhelming agreement that the underclassmen seem to be getting in trouble more often. “It’s the younger grades disrupting,” Ty Sherman, ’19, said. “There seems to be less discipline.”
Jaylon Throgmartin has been suspended and believes suspensions don’t fix the issue. “You can sit at home, and do nothing,” Throgmartin, ’21, said.
Students feel that suspensions don’t seem to be fixing the problem. The problem behavior doesn’t occur from the individual for the few days the student isn’t present at school, but when they return so does the previous behavior.
“It’s what they want, the student doesn’t want to be here so suspension if fun for them,” Amanda Boiling, ’19, said.
Students have suggested some alternatives. “They need to have meeting with parents.” Sherman said.
Art teacher Elizabeth Schmelzer feels suspensions aren’t working by themselves. She believes the school needs to continue to develop better ways to hold students accountable and meet their needs.
“It’s my belief most of the staff is not happy about the number of suspensions, but administrators and several teachers are working on ways to improve this,” Schmelzer said.