AFTER POST reporters raised questions about the accuracy of suspension rates in some D.C. public schools, a warning went out to principals. “Inappropriate, unprofessional and fraudulent” was how the system’s instructional superintendent described failure to accurately record students barred from classes. It’s good that such practices were soundly denounced, but more needs to be done to determine the extent of the problem as well as possible solutions.
D.C. schools, like a growing number of districts across the country, have recognized that more harm than good is done in suspending students from school. There are situations in which a student’s conduct is so egregious or dangerous that the only option is removal from school. But suspending students for minor misbehavior such as running in the hallways, being late for class and using profanity is counterproductive, often worsening behavior problems and leading to academic failure. The question that emerges from The Post’s investigation is whether the push to reduce suspensions caused some officials to camouflage students who had been excluded from instruction.
Related: Police calls near Madison Schools: 1996-2006.