Highlands is doing away with school suspensions at 2 schools | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands is doing away with school suspensions at 2 schools

1652959_web1_web-highlandshighschool.1

Highlands School District is hoping to make out-of-school suspensions a thing of the past on the elementary and middle school levels.

Highlands Elementary and Highlands Middle School have created what the district calls a Rams Reflective Room where students spend time with specialists to address problems that led to a suspension. The room replaces the traditional suspension rooms at both schools.

“Our goal is to address social, emotional and behavioral issues instead of going the suspension route,” said Highlands Superintendent Monique Mawhinney.

Principals Samantha Perlik at Highlands Elementary and Kimberly Price of Highlands Middle School presented the school board Monday night with details of the program. It began at the start of the new school year.

As part of the program, school officials will schedule a day for behavioral specialists to meet with students to talk about causes for suspensions. The school district behavioral specialists are Amy Grove and Kristen Ferrante.

The specialists will discuss ways to improve discipline, including how to stop inappropriate behavior. They will talk to students about taking responsibility for their actions and how to solve conflicts.

The two principals looked at what other school districts were doing to address the problem.

“The approaches are out there,” Perlik said. “Social and emotional learning needs have to be addressed and recognized.”

Both principals said parents would be involved and be given reports on the students affected. Students will practice writing by reporting on their experiences in the Rams Reflective Room.

Parents might be briefed on the new program at public forums such as a PTO meeting.

The program is not available in the senior high school, officials said.

Several school board members praised the new program and no board members or residents spoke negatively of the effort.

George Guido is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.