Student suspensions: The influence on students and their parents

Year: 1997

Author: Partington, Gary

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this study, secondary school students in Years 8-10 who were suspended from school were interviewed during their suspension to obtain their views on the validity, efficacy and consequences of suspension as a strategy in behaviour management. Also, their parents were interviewed for their views on the effect of the suspension on the family and on the student. Students were penalised with periods of suspension from two to 10 days, and these suspensions were supposed to be spent in the care of the parents. The actual operation of these out-of-school suspensions depended upon the parents: in some cases students were allowed to roam free; in others they were grounded. The findings indicate mixed consequences of suspension depending upon the context in which it occurs and the characteristics of the student. The study suggests that student responses reflect the extent to which they accept the authority of the school, with more resistant students being less submissive. Their responses also relate to the perceptions of their caregivers, with more resistant students coming from families where the school is viewed negatively. Alternative strategies to suspension might be more effective for the target students as suspension did little to improve behaviour or performance.