I suspended my first student of the year today, in fact the first student at our school to be suspended this year.
I report this with no particular happiness- I take no joy in suspending kids, but simply as a fact. It happened.
Now, do I think suspending this particular student is going to have any positive impact on him or his desire to reform his behavior? Not particularly. But I'm not sure how many other options I had available to me.
Allow me to explain:
After school on Friday, this young man made, in front of me, a teacher, and a parent, what appeared to me to be an obscene gesture towards another student. I asked him to come over to me to discuss the issue, and was met with typical early-teen attitude and denial. My intention at the time was to give a brief "don't-do-that-here-again" lecture, but he continued with the attitude and started to walk away. I followed and told him to come back, but he continued to walk off. I said, "I'm not going to chase you, but I will see you on Monday," giving him a last chance to return without any serious consequence, but to no avail. I tracked the student down through a little detective work and found he had a history last year of similar behaviors.
Now, the question is, did I do the right thing to suspend him from school? (1 day, for those who are wondering).
My situation, I feel, limited me a bit:
1) I'm new at the school this year, so I am establishing my credibility with students, teachers, and parents alike at this point.
2) This incident took place in public, in front of parents and other students.
3) The student had a history of similar behaviors.
Number 3, more than the other 2, made up my mind for me. Had this been a first-time kind of thing, I would have chosen another consequence, but didn't feel like I could under the circumstances.
What would you have done?