COLLINS: Expulsion process should consider student circumstances

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Expulsion can be a valuable means to an end in some situations. It can be used to further secure the welfare of the student body as well as protect teachers and staff.

However, as two Roseville High School students are currently in the expulsion process and with punishments as significant as this, this is a good time for the district to think carefully about its expulsion policies and consider the net benefits.

It needs to consider what is best for all parties involved – including the students facing expulsion. This is especially true if the students are not a threat to the welfare of fellow students and school staff.

Many students’ issues stem from their home lives and sending them to these environments may not be the best course of action for a student’s future.

Treating all students as equals would be a mistake, because students come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. It is beyond their control, yet it can have a direct impact on their academics as well as their behavior.

It could prove beneficial for administration to intervene and make an effort to help their students when it’s evident that their home lives aren’t providing sufficient or healthy guidance.

Before being expelled, most students receive a multitude of suspensions. The same logic applies here – as if sending them to the home environment that likely led to their unpleasant behavior will solve anything.

If a student is exhibiting misconduct that could be a result of a bad home life, it seems a logical step would be to for administration to deal with them on campus or send a professional to investigate, such as CPS.

After the event or action which warrants the expulsion, most students are forced to find a new school to complete their education. Which could result in transportation conflicts and other problems, and for many seniors over 18, expulsion would simply mean that they are done with school.

One can only think that this extreme reaction is more likely to cause harm than good. Sure, the admin gets a problem off their backs, but it could drastically alter or damage a student’s path to success.

Other routes should be considered in situations like this, such as therapy, rehabilitation or even probation, which would actually help fix the problem at hand.

Like I said, there are situations where expulsion is justified and appropriate, as concerns about keeping a campus free of drug traffickers and creating a safer environment is understandable.
But expulsion doesn’t mean abandonment. The public education system is probably the best place for kids who need help to get help. Schools are full of mentors and positive role models.

To remove a student from the one place they are most likely to receive help and grow as person, seems like a bad move. It fails that student and does not help them develop into a positive contributor to society.

Again, safety for all students should come first. But the district should not consider expulsion unless the student is a threat to those around him or her. Otherwise, it is just retribution or an attempt at deterrent that sacrifices one student to send a message.

Admin should still make an effort to reach out and guide students who are expelled, to ensure that they are not left behind academically. Whether it be helping them plan out the remainder of their high school career at a new school, or help them pursue alternative routes, like obtaining a GED.