Middle School's Controversial New Punishment Making Headlines, Parents Speak Out
ShareTap Staff 3/2/2017
A handful of North Carolina and West Virginia schools are making headlines after launching a controversial new discipline policy for students. At Huntington East Middle School in West Virginia, certain student infractions fall under the new discipline policy that has students cringing and some parents applauding, while others aren't as thrilled with the new approach.
Out-of-school and in-school suspensions have been used as a means to discipline students for years. However, some educators say they actually fuel a student's negative behavior. So Huntington East Middle School is trying a new approach, school parent partner Stephanie Powell told WOWK-TV.
"When we started combining schools we had a lot of kids getting in trouble and getting suspended."
For students who engage in non-violent, non-verbally abusive behavior, those students' parents can choose to have their students put on a reverse suspension plan. Instead of the student being sent home, the student's parent comes to school with him or her, spending the entire day glued to their student's side.
Huntington East Middle School Principal Frank Barnett said approximately 30 families have agreed to the plan, which has worked well so far, cutting behavior problems in half, and suspensions by two-thirds.
In all honesty, not many middle schoolers want their mom or dad tagging along to class, sitting beside them and following them in the halls. That embarrassment factor has really helped the program's effectiveness, Stephanie told WOWK-TV.
"Who as a parent wants to sit in class? It's also embarrassing; it's a good motivator to not have your parents come and sit with them."
Four Alamance County, North Carolina, middle schools are employing the reverse suspension program, too. Lee Williams, Graham Middle School principal, told KPNX-TV that parents accompany their students from 8 a.m. until 3:25 p.m. They eat cafeteria lunch, play dodge ball, participate in P.E., basically immerse themselves in the entire day.
Screenshot via KNPX-TV
Student Justin Young told WOWK-TV that he had been suspended multiple times the previous school year. While he loves his mom, having her at school with him all day was enough encouragement for him to not be suspended once this school year. After she went to school with him, they had a family talk and straightened some things out.
"She wanted to know if I acted like that when she was not around, I said no because I wanted to be good for you."
One hitch in the new plan for all schools trying this approach is that not many parents want to or can take time off from work to pair up with their student all day. Principal Williams admitted that it is the one downfall to the program's overall success, he told KPNX-TV.
"Every parent wants to be helpful, wants to help their child so we say 'listen, this is something we have, it's completely optional, not mandatory, would you be interested?'"
Here's more information about a North Carolina school's new policy.
What do you think of the school's reverse suspension policy? Is it a good idea? Difficult for parents who work to abide by? Let us know your thoughts!
Sources: WOWK-TV, KPNX-TV, WFMY-TV Image Source: WFMY-TV