SD 227 alters student suspension policy
By Sarah Zylstra Correspondent February 14, 2014 6:22PM
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:07AM
Students who are suspended for five to 10 days in Rich Township High School District 227 won’t have to leave school to serve their time.
The school board has unanimously approved placing an intervention dean at each of the district’s three schools to work with students on such suspensions.
“They would continue to receive instruction from a certified teacher as well as behavioral support from the counselor, the school social worker and the psychologist,” Cynthia Hudson, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, said. “Students ... would learn strategies so that those inappropriate behaviors would not present themselves.”
Hudson said the intervention deans would be people who connect well with students and who could tell them hard truths without the students becoming combative.
“This is not based on hunches,” she said. “It is based on what we know works with students.”
The deans would be trained in strategies such as peer mediation and peace circles, according to Sheffeia Wright, the district’s Response to Intervention coordinator.
District 227 interim Supt. Ronald Patton said those approaches worked well in Bloom Township High School District 206, where he previously served as superintendent.
“There was a significant reduction in student discipline problems and in students being suspended, so it pays for itself over the long haul,” Patton said. “And it pays for itself in terms of improving the atmosphere in the building. We had less student unrest and discipline problems.”
He said average daily attendance, which is at about 82 percent in District 227, could also be improved with this process.
“So often students receive the consequence but are not given follow-up through support, through decision-making strategies,” Hudson said. “We now have a program in house that can provide students with the supervision they need but also the support.”