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Alternatives to Suspensions: Rationale and Recommendations

NCJ Number
Journal of School Violence Volume: 29 Issue: 5 Dated: April - June 2012 Pages: 156-173
Jenna K. Chin; Erin Dowdy; Shane R. Jimerson; W. Jeremy Rime
Date Published
April 2012
18 pages
This study examined a proposed model for alternatives to suspensions, with special attention to implications and guidelines for practitioners.
Suspensions are often used as an individual disciplinary consequence in attempts to reduce problem behaviors in the future. However, suspensions have shown to be less effective for students with specific behavioral challenges and problems. When examining suspensions in the context of behaviorist and social-ecological learning theories, suspending may be inappropriate and ineffective to promote learning or behavioral compliance, specifically for students with behavioral skill deficits. A literature review of effective prevention methods (e.g., positive behavior supports) informs a potential paradigm shift in how student misbehavior may be effectively addressed. A proposed model for alternatives to suspensions is presented, with special attention to implications and guidelines for practitioners. Additionally, a pilot initiative implementing alternatives to suspensions is discussed, and a case study serves as an example for recommendations in replacing punitive discipline practices with proactive, learning opportunities. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.