Over the next two years, Kennewick school district officials plan to spend over $200,000 to create what will be called in-school suspension rooms;  fewer kids will be sent home for behavioral or conduct infractions. (Pictured is Kamiakin High School).

According to information released by the school district and discussions at recent school board meetings,  officials say there are studies showing students tend to perform better when suspensions are served at school, rather than at home.

School officials cited an Australian study that says students who are suspended for anywhere from 1-3 days for violating school policies have a higher marijuana use rate than those who aren't.   This, plus fears that suspended students tend to fall behind other students, have prompted officials to create the suspension rooms.

Kennewick's middle and high schools will each have these rooms, where students will still work on studies, but isolated from the rest of the population.

While some teachers and officials say it could be a good thing for students who occasionally run afoul of school rules,  others say this type of in-school suspension could become a babysitting exercise for those who are routinely in trouble.

Teachers and officials also say it's pointless unless the student has enough work and studies to keep them occupied.

The jury appears to be out on whether in-school suspension rooms will make a dramatic difference, but supporters say it's another option they have for keeping students on track academically and behaviorally.  They say a well-run program with proper supervision and interaction could help turn some students around.

Traditional thinking says removing students from school by way of suspension brings the parents directly into the picture, gets the attention of the parents in a dramatic way, and prevents a disruptive students from interfering with others education.

But supporters of this new idea say it's needed, because all too often suspension gives the student what they wanted all along, which is a "day off" from school.

This program is already being used at Kennewick High school, and feedback shows it seems to work for some students, but not as much for those who regularly break school rules.


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