Youngstown academic commission focuses on suspensions

By Denise Dick


East High School students missed 467 days in September and October because of suspensions.

The school has about 760 students.

The reasons for the suspensions range from insubordination and fighting to disruptive behavior. Most of the suspended days, 141, were for ninth-graders.

At Chaney, which has about 600 students, 136 days were missed because of suspensions with 76 of them in eighth grade.

“This is not good for kids,” said Adrienne O’Neill, chairwoman of the Youngstown City Schools Academic Distress Commission.

Superintendent Connie Hathorn presented the data Thursday at the commission’s regular monthly meeting. It doesn’t break down the number of students involved, meaning that the total suspension days could include students who were suspended multiple times.

The district also has in-school suspensions, Hathorn said, and whether a student is given in- or out-of-school suspension depends on the particular infraction. School board policy determines the difference.

“It’s something we’re going to have to look at,” Hathorn said.

There is space at both Chaney and East where in-school suspension could be housed, he said.

Wilson School of Promise, the district’s alternative-school program, saw 133 suspension days for the first two months of the school year. That school has about 120 students. Both ninth and 10th grades at Wilson saw 22 suspension days.

O’Neill said she wants the principals of those schools to get together and recommend to the school board at the Dec. 14 meeting ways to reduce those suspension numbers. That will then be reported to the commission, which meets again in January.

If a student doesn’t want to go to school, he or she can figure out that if they misbehave, they’ll get suspended and get to stay home, she said. If they’re not in school, they can’t learn. Days missed because of suspension also are calculated as unexcused absences.

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