Online Program

Innovative Programs to Reduce Out of School of School Suspensions

Monday, November 2, 2015

Adriane Van Zwoll, MJ, LCSW, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing/SBHC, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL
Pushing students out of school for minor disciplinary issues is a public health concern nationwide.  There is a negative trend involving the police to arrest students, for what otherwise could be handled within the school setting.  Many schools, particularly in urban and impoverished areas are contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline by suspending students, referring them to local law enforcement, and referring them to court for truancy issues.  According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), school disciplinary policies disproportionately affect African American students  such that they make up 31% of school-related arrests and being three times more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled.  Furthermore, research has shown that students who are suspended at least once are at a higher risk of dropping out of school.  

The PIRATE Program, an alternative to suspension program was created to reduce the amount of students who were receiving out of school suspension for minor verbal and physical altercations.  This program is an asset to the Deans of Students in an urban high school setting and is going on its fourth year of implementation.  Results have shown a decrease in disciplinary problems with students who successfully completed the program. In addition to this program, The REAL Program has been established to help provide additional support and resources in the dedicated in-school suspension classroom.  It is crucial to provide students who are sent to in-school suspension with learning opportunities in efforts to change their behavior and keep them in class.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify three reasons why it is important to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Explain the different components of the PIRATE Program (an alternative to out of school suspension). Describe ways in which in-school suspension interventions can better address the needs of students, while keeping them in school.

Keyword(s): Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed and implemented an alternative to suspension program in an urban high school setting, have an educational background in Children's Law and Policy-with an emphasis on school discipline laws and policies, and have been practicing clinically for the last 7.5 years in school-based health care and child welfare.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.