Metea Valley administrators say that in-school suspension is beneficial for correcting student behavior. Students, however, believe the program is harmful for their education. (PJ Bender)
Metea Valley administrators say that in-school suspension is beneficial for correcting student behavior. Students, however, believe the program is harmful for their education.

PJ Bender

In School Suspension: Discipline in the absence of intervention

May 26, 2023

In the confines of the in-school suspension room, silence hangs in the air, stifling any hope for a collective and positive learning environment. It is as if the time itself has slowed, with students sitting isolated in their own desolate areas of punishment. 

No laughter, no chatter, and certainly no interaction among the students in this room: a somber picture of lost opportunities and lost potential, instead of learning and setting goals for success. 

This year, Metea Valley recorded 133 incidents of In School Suspension. 

According to Metea Valley principal Dr. Darrell Echols, the purpose of in-school suspension (ISS) is to provide students a place to get work done and serves as a consequence for missing class and behavior occurrences. 

“We want to make sure that students have an opportunity to get caught up on missing work,” Echols said. “Sometimes there is a visit by a social worker or there are other activities that they do in there to get acclimated back into class.”

A yellow referral slip indicates a consequence for student behavior, including a possible in-school suspension. (PJ Bender)

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights defines in-school suspension as an instance where a student is briefly removed from their classroom(s) for a set period of time, but remains in school under supervision of a teacher or staff member. 

At Metea, ISS is blocked off as a full day exclusively in a designated location. The purpose is to manage students’ behavior by removing them from the rest of the student body, all while keeping them in a focused learning environment. 

In-school intervention, on the other hand, is defined as a contrasting strategy implemented to boost the well-being of students according to the American Psychological Association (APA). The intervention utilizes the time authorized to incorporate activities such as unique lectures directed toward specific students through guided online lessons, group discussions, and homework assignments.

The programs appear beneficial, including adequate time to catch up on missing work, social worker visits, and aid to regain composure academically and socially. 

However, Metea Valley junior Donovan, who wanted us to only use his first name, doesn’t see the positive benefit of ISI. 

“It just takes away from me being in class and learning,” Donovan said. “They put you in here for missing school but you miss more school being in here.” 

English teacher Megan Walsen understands the responsibility of the school to issue repercussions based on the student’s actions. However, she also looks at it from the teacher’s perspective.

“I understand that there need to be consequences for their actions, but from a teacher’s perspective, it is hard to then get the kid caught up in class, and we want them to be successful,” Walsen said. “For students, it is a tough balance.”

“It just takes away from me being in class and learning. They put you in here for missing school but you miss more school being in here.” 

— Donovan

The Stampede reached out to deans Matt Walpole, Jim Klappaf, Kim McElroy, and David Schumacher multiple times for comment. They declined our requests to be interviewed for this story. 

A dean’s assistant and in-school supervisor who agreed to be interviewed for this story on condition of anonymity said that there were plans for students in ISI this year, such as social work sessions and yoga. 

“I will say that the game plan coming into this year was to have a lot more,” the dean’s assistant said. “It has not come to fruition.” 

Without intervention programs taking place, little learning actually happens in ISS, and the dean’s assistants see the same students returning to ISS repeatedly.  

“[I am] normally in ISS at least once a week,” Donovan said.

“I feel in-school suspension and intervention should be a deterrent,” the dean’s assistant said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a deterrent at all, so I don’t believe it’s effective in that way.”

Additionally, many students get caught in a cycle of continuously going back to the in-school suspension room for not being able to attend PM or Saturday schools, because of obligations with family or work. 

“If you miss PM school, you get Saturday school,” Donovan said. “I cannot attend because I work which leads me to an ISS.”

With current assistant principal Daniel DeBruycker being promoted to principal starting in July, Echols expressed the possibility of new changes.

“We are looking to maybe overhaul some of the things that we are doing in there to make it better because the intervention piece is a small piece of it,” Echols said. “We want more of an intervention to happen.” 


A version of this story originally appeared in Issue 6 of The Stampede. 

Leave a Comment

METEA MEDIA • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation. Please note that all comments are moderated. Metea Media will not publish comments if they contain the following:

▸ Rude or obscene language (i.e. swear words, sexual jokes, violent threats, etc.)
▸ Hate speech (i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.)
▸ Insults towards a specific student or a teacher
▸ Content that is irrelevant to the article or does not add to the discussion
▸ Submitting comments under somebody else's name

Refer to the student handbook for further specifics on what is considered appropriate.

The Social Media Editor will read and evaluate all comments. Should there be any issues with a particular comment, the Social Media Editor will consult the newspaper adviser and Online Editor-in-Chief.
All METEA MEDIA Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *