Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ending reliance on Suspension and Expulsion in Illinois Schools with Senate Bill 100

        Reaction Paper about law to end zero tolerance tendencies to suspend or expel students.

In August of 2015, Bill SB 100 was been passed into legislation by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rauner. Senate Bill 100 was created by the group; Voices of Youth in Chicago due to their concern for children who were not receiving instructional time because of suspensions or expulsions. This new law will require schools to adjust their forms of discipline. They are now required to exhaust every possible form of disciplinary action before expulsion, suspension, or referral to alternative school will be allowed. This was an effort to keep children in school and to minimize the amount of instruction time lost due to suspensions and expulsions by decreasing the usage of those forms of punishment (NCTV, 2016). 

I fully support this bill because suspensions and expulsions seem to be more problematic rather than a solution. They cause children to lose instruction time and fall behind in classwork, which is not beneficial to either the instructors or student. Students may also be getting sent home to unhealthy situations. The root of the problem may be within their household and sending them back there may make it worse. If the disruptive student may be acting out due to bad situations at home, then the school ought to provide a safer and healthier environment where the student can learn and get away from family troubles. 

A site maintained by the Voices of Youth in Chicago mentions the idea of suspension and expulsion being the cause of “pushing students out of the school system and into the juvenile” (Voyce,2014). I agree with this because suspensions can lead to students falling behind and dropping out of school and getting into illegal activity. With this law, schools are required to allow students to make up work that they have missed if they are suspended. 

Bill 100 will hopefully keep students in school and therefore better their chances at a good future. 


It's just a reaction essay, so I guess it's okay that you didn't explore while people might oppose this law, or why the policies of suspensions and expulsions became so widespread and common.  It seems to me that this law requires a complimentary law that helps (and funds) school attempts to make classrooms safe and supportive. I suppose schools will use special classrooms or study rooms and tutoring to deal with discipline problems that have until recently been addressed with suspensions and expulsions.  I suppose when it comes to actual fighting or threats, schools could always just call in police and encourage students and teachers to press criminal charges for assault and intimidation, and let the courts deal with the worst discipline problems.

You didn't put this paper in the context of the general criticism of "zero tolerance" as part of a "school-to-prison pipeline". We know (and we have known for about 25 years) how to identify young children who will be most likely to have discipline problems or end up in juvenile justice detention, and we also know how to provide supports to such children in their schools in ways that drastically reduce their chances of ending up in serious trouble (and causing serious problems for others).  And yet, there has been more political will for locking up people than for doing preventive interventions to reduce behavior problems in schools. 

Does the law provide any extra financing to help schools do preventive work or offer services to help students with behavior problems?

You did not mention that the people who pushed this bill were actual students from Chicago.  This new law is exciting because it came from people who were very young, and in some cases too young even to vote.

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