Attack of the Crazy Suspension Addicted Schools

There was a time there when suspensions actually meant something. If you were given a suspension, you knew it was for something major and you dreaded the inevitable grilling by your parents when they reluctantly turned up at your school. Whenever I was sent to the Principal’s office, I was on edge that my misdemeanor might lead to a suspension. The fact that I am still alive to write this post tells you that I never got one.

But today, for whatever reason, schools find it necessary to cheapen and make mockery of the very punishment that was a proven success over many years. Nowadays, you can get a suspension for scratching your head or making snorting sounds when you laugh.

You don’t believe me? Well then read this:

A school north-west of Melbourne has been forced to apologise to a student with a learning disability after he was suspended because his parents failed to attend a parent-teacher interview.

Brendan Mason was allowed to return to classes at Sunbury Downs College in Sunbury today, the Herald Sun reports.

Brendan’s father Andrew Mason said the meeting was one of many they had throughout the year with his teachers, integration aides and pathways teachers to discuss his progress.

Principal Brett Moore said Brendan was wrongly issued two detentions after his parents missed the meeting, and this was increased to a one-day suspension after Brendan failed to turn up to either punishment.

Mr Moore said the staff member who issued the detentions made a mistake. The staff member did not understand that Brendan’s parents were not required to go to the meeting because they had already attended a group session with his aides, Mr Moore said.

“I’ll investigate this matter … I’ll unreservedly apologise — I have to the father and I will in person.”

But Brendan’s father said his son would struggle to make up classes he had missed.

“I don’t think he can go back today — he’s not up to it, part of his problem is he gets affected by stress … he definitely can’t go back today,” he said.

In Australia, it is the politicians that are accused of being reactive and low on conviction. However, in my opinion, there is no better current day example of a ‘turncoat’ than schools. They seem to make these incredibly big mistakes. Mistakes that they would happily continue making, until someone gathers the courage to stand up for themselves and notifies the media. Then, without a moments hesitation, they do a complete 180 degree turn and blame their mistake on an errant staff member.

Schools come across as fickle, naive, incompetent and asleep at the wheel. They are quick to blame Governments, parents and students, but are almost never blameless themselves.

It’s time our schools woke up to their failing and got there acts together. Restoring confidence in our schools is pivotal to the hopes and aspirations we have for our children.

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