I have mixed feelings about this article. I’m pleased that the school district has come to their senses, but also concerned about how long it’s taken for them (and many other districts around the country) to realize that an automatic-expel-them-and-forget-them approach is destructive.
The Anchorage School District averages more than 60 expulsions and almost 400 suspensions a year for drugs and alcohol. Now it says it’s time to take a different approach, when changing the behavior of its students. [...]
The new policy changes the requirement that a student who offends must be expelled right away. The district said the policy is just catching up to something that’s already happening in its schools.
“Those days of expelling,’ –you’re out on the curb and you’re gone from the Anchorage School District, we don’t care about you anymore,’ — long, long gone,” said Graham, “We have these programs and now a policy in place that really allows us to make it easy for us to do this.”
There’s no doubt that there are some students who just don’t belong in school – those who are disruptive and really don’t want to be there. But to kick out students just because they got caught with drugs or alcohol is an abdication of any responsibility for their future.
It’s like saying “Because you have been caught using drugs, we’re going to take away your opportunity for an education, and send you out on the street as a criminal to sell drugs.