Middle School Practices Reverse Suspensions by Bringing Parents to School, but Does It Work?

a parent sitting with their child in a middle school class during the school day because the school practices reverse suspensions

A middle school in West Virginia has come up with a unique way of handling suspensions for their students, bringing parents to class. But do reverse suspensions work?

…at Huntington East Middle School, for non-violent, non-verbally abusive behavior, they offer the troubled student’s parent a reverse suspension plan. Instead of sending the student home, the parent comes to school, spending an entire, eye opening day by their child’s side

The school’s principal, Frank Barnett, said: “the 30 or so families this year accepting the reversal has helped cut student suspensions by two-thirds and bad behavior incidents by more than half.”

WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Education advocates have expressed concern about the effectiveness of out of school suspensions as a deterrent. In fact, they further echo the sentiments of the principal at Huntington East Middle School when he says, “that for many students, suspension from school is a good thing, something they expected and planned for.”

But proponents of Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support do not list reverse suspension as a substitute for out-of-school suspension. Some of the suggested alternatives include:

  • problem-solving/contracting
  • restitution
  • mini-courses or skill modules
  • parent involvement/supervision
  • counseling
  • community service
  • behavior monitoring
  • coordinated behavior plans
  • alternative programming

It is not clear that reverse suspensions would fit into the framework of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Perhaps it would fit into the realm of parent involvement and supervision?

Nevertheless, this middle school has been pleased with the results of their intervention.

Barnett says the schools revamped in-school suspension plan includes teachers to help student learn to get things done they usually would not.

“Who as a parent wants to sit in class? It’s embarrassing, it’s a good motivator to not have your parents come and sit with them,” From parent Stephanie Howell.

They said the parent involved plan is a positive motivator, by going in reverse, Principal Frank Barnett said their restorative justice program also works well.

Barnett said they decide on corrections for each behavior incident on a case by case basis.

What do you think of this middle school’s plan to offer parents reverse suspension as an alternative to out-of-school suspensions? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Source: Reverse suspensions don’t send students home, but bring parents – WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

One comment

  1. I spent a day following my son when he was in 7th grade and getting in trouble. It was very eye-opening for me and I was able to make recommendations on modifications that helped him be on time to class and participate more appropriately. It was a great solution!

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