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"Discipline is helping a child solve a problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solutions not retribution."

L.R. Knost

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Lauren Kanerviko, Allison Schaefer, Bridget Estes, Jenna Furfaro

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How to Prevent Suspensions

Useful videos, articles, and many other items to learn about school suspensions, their effects on children, and how to prevent them.

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What is a suspension?

A suspension is the temporary removal of a student from the students educational setting due to a violation of policy. 

The two types of suspensions

An in school suspension is when a student is removed from their classroom for the day or half a day but kept under the care of school personal. 

An out of school suspension is when a child is not allowed on school grounds for one day or longer. 

According to:

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How do suspensions affect students?

Suspension were not associated with high success rates. Suspension can cause large negative affects for students later in life. Studies have shown that removing a disruptive student does not show great benefit within the classroom. In a study students with higher suspension rates were shown to be more likely to be arrested than other students. Thought the benefit of students being suspended is that the student is no longer a disruption within the classroom.

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What are we Doing About School Suspensions

TJ Rumler

TJ Rumler talks about how educators are usually not informed about childhood trauma and how to help students with traumatic childhood experiences. This leads to classroom mismanagement, school attendance refusal, and much worse. TJ says that we as educators must stand up and take the responsibility of learning the best practices and adjust the learning environment to be focused on and reach the student.

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Discipline Bias in Education Leaves Life-Long Impacts

Cami Anderson

 In this interview with Cami Anderson, the question at hand is, "Is there a better way to discipline students?". Grade school suspensions and expulsions have the potential to negatively affect students for the rest of their lives, and it affects their academic achievement and social emotional development. Cami Anderson talks about what schools, teachers, and parents need to do to make the students accountable for their own behavior. 

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Articles to help prevent suspensions

The first article was from a PBIS Rewards and it talked about the most powerful ways on how to prevent schools suspensions. I thought the most thought-provoking thing for me was that teachers need to keep in mind how students may have bigger issues going on at home than what is going on at school and we need to be aware of those issues and help them through them rather than punishing them. 

The second article I found was how teachers can help prevent suspensions and expulsion from happening and how we can provide resources for children that need help. This website was interesting because it gave several different websites for teachers to look at to help them rethink the discipline, they were giving children and how to rethink their implicit bias. 

Lastly, I found an article that talked about how respect from both students and teachers plays a major role on suspensions. Suspensions may be seen as punishments to some however, for other it is seen as a vacation since they do not have to be in school. Teachers need to recognize the effect of suspensions and think of different ways to make a student behave inside the classroom. 

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School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior

Rosemarie Allen

Rosemarie Allen talks about the growing epidemic of school suspensions in the United States, and the negative consequences that follow. In this TED Talk she talks about how the problem might be the solution, and the question she asks is, "when dealing with the difficult behaviors of children, what if we turned our focus inward?".

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How Teachers Can Prevent Suspensions

Educators need to adjust their previous disciplinary actions and implement positive discipline strategies.

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Article: "Resources on Positive School Discipline"

This article discusses how the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has developed a number of resources to help educators implement positive discipline strategies.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices help build healthy relationships and prevent conflict. The practice focuses on repairing harm and maintaining a healthy relationship with the community. The practice offers alternatives to school suspensions and expulsions.


Zero-Tolerance Vs. Restorative Practices

This framework for teachers shows how different the zero-tolerance education system and restorative practice-based education system are. The image provides an example scenario.
A zero-tolerance education system mandates predetermined consequences, expulsions/suspensions. Restorative practice repairs relationships, and is less about punishment, more about discipline.

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Resources for Understanding the Problem

Teaching Tolerance

How to include more empathy and diversity in the classroom through:
1. Positive messages in the classroom
- Posters (diversity, tolerance, acceptance)
2. Make the classroom a safe place for shared ideas and feelings. (non-judgemental; discussion based class)
3. Lead by example. Students observe their teachers, so teachers must act how they want their students to act.

Discipline Disparities: A Research-to-Practice Collaborative

Discipline disparities are when a specific demographic group is subjected to particular disciplinary actions.

How to prevent discipline disparities:

1. Supportive Relationships between teachers and students

2. Bias-Aware Classrooms and Respectful School Environments 

3. Academic Rigor; high expectations

4. Culturally Relevant and Responsive Teaching

5. Opportunities for Learning and Correcting Behavior; proactive instruction 

6. Data-Based Inquiry for Equity

Advancing School Discipline Reform
Increased federal support helped implement alternatives to zero-tolerance policies.

How schools and communities can advance discipline:

  • Full-service community schools/ school-based health centers

  • Restorative Practices; mediation and agreement; keep kids in school 

Other resources:

National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments

This website has wonderful links and other resources on topics such as creating a safe environment in classrooms, trauma-sensitive school training packages, school climate improvement resource package, etc.

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Activities for teaching tolerance in the classroom: Resilient educator. (2020, May 20). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Aftunion. (2015, December 18). Resources on positive school discipline. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Discipline bias in education leaves life-long impacts. (2018, April 06). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

​ NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Rumler, T. (n.d.). What are we doing about school suspensions. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Safe supportive learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

School discipline linked to later consequences. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

School discipline reform: Atlantic philanthropies. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

​ Sparks, S. (2020, December 01). One key to Reducing School Suspension: A little respect. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Suspension: School discipline support initiative. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

TEDxTalks. (2016, August 01). School suspensions are an adult Behavior | Rosemarie Allen | TEDXMILEHIGH. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

The most powerful way to reduce school suspensions. (2019, October 03). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

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