School suspension is a controversial topic—and one without an easy answer.
Of course, safety comes into play. Schools are required to expel students for serious infractions, like carrying a gun or a knife on campus. However, suspensions also serve as punishments for less severe infractions like fighting, misbehaving in class, and breaking other school rules.
Since punishments are at the discretion of administrators, they often do not fit the crimes. PBS host Travis Smiley recently commented on the rise of suspensions and their contribution to the school-to-prison pipeline, saying, “We’re talking about the kind of things that, when I was in school, used to get you sent to the principal’s office. We’re talking about foul language. We’re talking about chewing gum in class. We’re talking fighting. But instead of dealing with the principal, these days, kids are winding up in front of a judge.”
Curious about who is getting suspended and why? Click through the gallery to learn eight shocking facts about suspension rates in American schools.
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