It’s no secret to anyone who has spent time in schools that the behavior of a single student can bring an entire class to a halt, testing the patience — not to mention classroom management skills — of the most veteran teacher.
And yet sending the student out of the classroom, particularly by suspension or expulsion, frequently starts them on a path that ends in dropping out. When the student reappears elsewhere, it’s as a grim statistic.
A student kept out of the classroom three times by ninth grade is virtually guaranteed not to graduate. Add to this the fact that the reason for 95 percent of exclusions is disruptive or disorderly conduct — nonviolent behaviors for which African American kids are most singled out.