Also of concern was the types of activity the suspended students engaged in during their time away from school. Most of the students engaged in leisure activities such as ‘hanging out’, spending time online or watching television. While some took part in homework, paid work or volunteering, a small percentage drank alcohol or carried out illegal activities. Only about one-third had adult supervision during their suspension. Three-quarters of students who had been suspended felt that the experience did nothing to help resolve the cause of the suspension. A number of students did however identify measures that might help them avoid suspensions in future, such as being taught how to respond more appropriately to difficult situations, having someone to talk to, and having additional assistance with their classwork.
The research highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to suspension of students.
Suggested actions include: considering the individual needs of the student and family prior to suspension; providing adult supervision and assistance with schoolwork during suspension; and setting up a formal re-integration to allow the teacher-student relationship to be repaired.
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