Advocacy group, Connecticut Voices for Children says out-of- school
suspensions may be overused in Connecticut schools. Authors of a new
study recommend schools overhaul their discipline practices.
7% of public school children were suspended during the 2006-2007
school year, resulting in more than a quarter-million missed class days.
The study's authors say students are most often suspended for behaviors
like skipping school and showing disrespect. They say those missing out
on class because of suspensions are often children already at risk for academic failure.
Alexandra Dufresne co-authored the study and advocates for alternatives to
suspension. She says an over-reliance on out-of-school suspension sends
the wrong message:
"Just as you wouldn't exclude a child who came to school not
knowing how to read or do math, similarly we think that a young child who
doesn't quite understand the norms of social interaction, you wouldn't correct that
or discipline that by excluding the child from educational opportunity
Rather, you would take that opportunity to really teach them what
was wrong about the behavior and how they could improve it in the
The State Legislature passed a law last year, requiring that in low-risk
situations, suspensions be served in school, to discourage students from
viewing suspensions as vacations. However, the law will not take effect
until next July.