by Rosemary Rivera
The Rochester community deserves schools where it is a joy to teach and to learn—an environment that is safe and nurtures supportive and respectful relationships among the entire school community. Our children, and sometimes our adults, are still learning how to self-regulate and grow in their understanding of how to conduct themselves in the world. Unfortunately, the most commonly used tool to attempt to teach our children how to behave is the harmful practice of suspensions. Our Rochester community has made many strides to change that, but there is still work to be done.
Suspensions might sound normal to many, but suspending students from school is an outdated and punitive form of discipline that causes a lot of harm and should be used only as a last resort. Removing students from the school environment makes them more likely to fall behind academically, which for many is the first step in a chain reaction of withdrawal. After a student is suspended, chances increase that they will be held back a grade, drop out of high school, or become incarcerated as an adult.
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.