Clear expectations of behavior, drop school suspensions by as much as 10 percent


When students receive clear, consistent expectations of behavior, school suspensions drop by as much as 10 percent, a new study shows.

To put that in context, more than 2.75 million K-12 students were suspended during the 2013 to 2014 school year. A 10 percent reduction means 275,000 more students were in class learning.

A 2012 study by the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University found that when a high school freshman receives a single suspension, their chances of dropping out of school can increase by a third. Further, only 49 percent of students with three or more suspensions graduate high school. That’s nearly a flip of a coin on whether a student receives a diploma or not.

“A positive climate is one where educators and administrators create clear expectations for students, practice consistent discipline, and display supportive behavior,” says Francis Huang, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri.

“This study suggests that a positive school climate can be helpful for all students, regardless of their background.”

“This creates a positive school environment for students because they know what is expected of them, they feel respected and supported, and they expect that they will be treated equally and fairly.”

In addition to presenting clear rules to students and enforcing them consistently throughout the school, a positive school climate features an environment marked by supportive student-teacher relationships, Huang says.

For the study, which appears in Children and Youth Services Review, Huang and coauthor Dewey Cornell, a professor of education at the University of Virginia, analyzed school climate survey responses from more than 75,000 students from 310 middle schools in Virginia to see the relationship between student behaviors, the likelihood of suspensions, and overall school climate.

Behaviors like fighting and bullying were the most powerful predictors of receiving a suspension. A positive school climate is associated with a reduction in a student’s likelihood of receiving a suspension, no matter their race, economic status, or behavior in school.

“Research shows that overwhelmingly, the students who are most at risk of receiving a suspension are either male, non-white, of low socioeconomic status, have a disability, or a combination of these characteristics,” Huang says. “This study suggests that a positive school climate can be helpful for all students, regardless of their background.”

The National Institute of Justice funded the work. The opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in the study are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding institution.

Source: University of Missouri

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  • William Nolan#3


    Clarity in the message.
    The student in question has to be very clear that he is excluded from the group. The message must be direct, clear, concise and contain the word expulsion. I recommend that you direct yourself directly to the student and tell him / her by keeping eye contact at all times. You can tell him something like you are expelled from the classroom for not respecting the rules of the center.

    The expulsion is notified, it is not discussed.
    It is essential that when you expel a student from the group, you should notify them. In no case should you argue in the classroom about expulsion. The student, once he has left the classroom, will have the opportunity to give his explanation in writing. The same will be done by the teacher who expels the student.

    Do not raise your voice
    I recommend that you never raise your voice more than you do in a teaching session. If you maintain a natural tone at the time of notifying the expulsion, you will have many more chances that the student does not want to question it. The student will seek confrontation and should only find naturalness in your voice and in your gestures.


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