A death sentence#039; alternative for some By Andrew Giermak 07/14/2005 A community service component will become an option for Suffolk students who in the past would have otherwise been given suspens
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005
A community service component will become an option for Suffolk students who in the past would have otherwise been given suspensions for some offenses.
No violent offenses are included as a part of this program, but non-violent, relatively minor problems would result in community service instead of suspension. The School Board is seeking to make a more productive use of disciplinary actions instead of being strictly punitive.
"We want to make sure students learn the consequences of their actions," said Superintendent Dr. Milton Liverman during Tuesday's Suffolk School Board summer retreat.
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"You have to face those consequences, but at the same time this is not an academic death sentence."
The "academic death sentence" refers to the previous policy that keeping students suspended and out of class for offenses such as bullying, cheating, disrupting class, excessive tardiness or absences, profanity, trespassing, theft, and vandalism.
Instead, the board is hoping the new community service projects around Suffolk will both benefit the students doing the service, and others around Suffolk might gain from it as well.
Parents will be expected to document their child's service hours, therefore becoming another figure making sure the service requirement is being carried out.
"We think this is a good opportunity for students and for parents," said Liverman, "but parents must get involved in the process."
Speaking about findings from the National School Board, board member William Hill said, "this is a long time coming here, and it seems very impressive."
The program comes out of state-level grants as a part of the General Assembly's Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 2001.