A year ago, we made the following observation about the shockingly large number of suspensions in the Youngstown City School System: Dysfunctional students are contributing to the failure of the school district.
The state report cards based on the proficiency tests support our view: academic emergency; academic watch; and, the latest, five F’s, 2 D’s and 2 C’s.
But we also had a suggestion for dealing with the epidemic of student misbehavior: Ask the Ohio Department of Education to send in experts to assess the situation, with the goal of developing a program that would remove the disruptive and disobedient students from the schools.
That apparently wasn’t done — and today’s report on suspensions is just as troubling.
In September and October, a total of 758 suspension days were recorded in several schools, including East High and Chaney. The reasons for the suspensions include insubordination, fighting and disruptive behavior.
The report, submitted by Superintendent Connie Hathorn to the academic distress commission, triggered this response from Chairwoman Adrienne O’Neill: “This isn’t good for kids.”
We trust she was referring to the students who go to school seeking an education and not the ones who have no interest in learning.
To be sure, they should not be cut loose from the district because having them on the streets of the city is a recipe for disaster .
O’Neill has asked the principals of the schools plagued by disruptive students to get together and develop a plan to reduce the number of suspension days. That isn’t a bad idea, but given the history of the Youngstown district, nothing but extreme measures will work.
Returning students to the classroom after they have served their suspensions should be a one-time proposition. The next incident should result in removal from school.