Don’t Let The Door Hit You

In most schools these days, kids who break the rules aren’t getting any second chances and are being shown the door. Almost 100,000 students are expelled from schools nationwide each year for a wide variety of infractions. Part of the reason is that most school districts have adopted "zero tolerance" policies for violence in the wake of Columbine and are imposing heavy penalties for offenses that would have been disciplined in other ways prior to the 1999 shootings.

Some people speculate that there may be other reasons for the rise in expulsions.

Other experts suggest that the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, with its provisions requiring schools to report violent acts and sanctioning those that report too many, gives schools additional incentive to expel difficult students. Their worry is that expulsions, if they lead more students to drop out, will result in many more students being left behind educationally.

Whatever the reason, just throwing a student out of school does nothing to solve the problems that led to the action in the first place and probably creates even more. But, as the article points out, there are alternatives for students such as vocational programs or non-traditional school settings. Which leads to the question of why these options were not available to the students in the first place – before they acted to get themselves expelled.

Then there are the school administrators who themselves act pretty stupid in trying to impose discipline. As in the case of the student who wore a shirt to school that said "Hempstead, NY 516". The reference was to a town from which the student had just moved (516 is the area code) but school officials accused the student of promoting drug use and suspended him. Eventually the boy convinced them to Google the name, something that should have been obvious in this day and age.