Doctors oppose suspending, expelling students

(KFVS) - The American Academy of Pediatrics says zero tolerance policies adopted by schools around the country may not be the smartest option for punishing students.

"They may actually work against a school district looking deeper," said Wisconsin pediatrician Jeffrey Lamont.

"There may be issues of racism or bullying or other social ills within the school," he said.

Academy leaders want to know why teaching stops at reading, writing, and arithmetic, and doesn't extend into how a student should behave?

"We create the standard, we let people know what it is, we teach them how to get there and congratulate them when they are doing it right," said Lamont, who led the group who wrote the new statement.

The academy's report says students who face suspension or expulsion usually don't finish high school.

"Does the child go back into the very environment that created the problem because the school has sentenced him there?" he said.

Which is why the principal at Central Junior High in West Frankfort says his district takes steps to avoid suspensions and expulsions.

"If they follow the red bird code, each quarter there is rewards trips in it," said Principal Charley Cass.

But he says even though they try to encourage students to act appropriately, the district does need to have the option of suspending or expelling a student.

"We try to find things that are incentives, we try preventative measures, but we also have to discipline students too," he said.

The district officials say they also focuses on students who do behave.

"We are telling the kids that do behave, that they are behaving well that's the message you need to put out," said Lamont.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.