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CON: Suspension too severe; students need to be in classroom

By Carolina Astrain
May 18, 2014 at 12:18 a.m.


In-school suspension

When sent to in-school suspension, students usually are given worksheets from their classrooms or have nothing to do during the day. They sit in a room separate from their peers.

Other reasons students might be sent to in-school suspension include bullying, assault or verbal attacks on teachers.

Source: VISD

Sending students to in-school suspension for violating dress code is a waste of time and hurts learning, said Spencer Gilley, a Howell Middle School eighth-grader.

He was recently sent to in-school suspension for not wearing a belt, Spencer, 15, said.

"I forgot it at home," he said. "I was wearing everything else they required, but I still had to stay in ISS all day."

At least 30 of his friends have been sent to ISS this year for violating the dress code, Spencer said.

Josette Rieck, a parent with a student enrolled at a VISD elementary school, said sending students to in-school suspension for not being in dress code is unnecessarily extreme.

"It's not fair to the students, and sending them to ISS isn't going to change anything," Rieck, 31, said. "I would prefer for everybody to be in uniforms. That would make things so much simpler."

Her husband, George Rieck, agreed.

"That's kind of ridiculous," he said. "I don't see that as being right."

Victoria East High School student Alyssa Figueroa went to school with a hole in her jeans Thursday and went through the entire day without being penalized.

"Toward the end of the year, some teachers don't care about the rules anymore," Figueroa, 19, said. "I don't feel like the hole in my jeans disrupted anyone's education or my learning."

Once, instead of going home to change as ordered for a previous offense, Figueroa said, she simply decided to stay at home and not return to campus.

"It's a waste of time sending students to ISS," Figueroa said. "Most of them don't care."

David Prater, 59, of Cuero, echoed Figueroa's thoughts.

"It's like sending someone to jail for jaywalking," Prater said. "And it makes the kids feel bad. Once you get marked as a bad student, it follows you."

Other parents said they would like to see more consistency in disciplinary action.

Erin Nance, of Victoria, said she received a call from Smith Elementary School two weeks ago asking her to bring her 6-year-old son a pair of jeans to replace a pair that had a hole on the knee.

"The whole time that he was in the office, he could have been learning instead of being singled out in class," Nance said. "He went back to class with a different pair of jeans and got teased."

Nance said her son had been wearing the jeans all school year.

"They should have been enforcing this rule all year long," the mother said. "(An administrator) told me to sew new jeans if I didn't want to buy new ones."

Dawn Cano, the mother of a Victoria East student who is four months pregnant, said her daughter was sent to ISS for wearing leggings to school after her jeans no longer fit her.

"She had been extremely sick and had missed several weeks of school due to being in the hospital," Cano said. "Being in the classroom and having that classroom direction was imperative because she was so behind."

Cano said she does not believe her daughter's leggings were hurting her learning.

Pro: Students need firm consequences for their dress code violations

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