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Local districts working to combat suspensions

October 31, 2013

WEST WARWICK — A suspension from school doesn’t necessarily mean days out of school as it did in years past.
Local school districts are taking a better look at how school suspensions work by forming more programs and alternative ways to prevent behavioral and disciplinary issues.
West Warwick School Superintendent Karen Tarasevich said one of the programs is called an Alternative Instructional Setting (AIS).
“Our goal is to keep these students in school if there’s an infraction,” she said. “It depends of course on what the student did. Some things are more serious than others but if they’re doing in-school suspension then they still have full access to their instructional materials, they’re just not in a classroom setting.”
The superintendent explained that when there’s an issue, the teacher first brings it to the attention of the parents and from there, there are discussions with the administration, teachers and others.
“There can be detention and other forms of discipline,” she said. “Suspension is a pretty heavy thing and we don’t take it lightly but one of the ways the Rhode Island Department of Education looks at suspensions is that they count both in and out of school so the numbers are misleading.”
According to data on RIDE’s website, from 2011 to 2012 school year, West Warwick has had 84 suspensions within the elementary schools, 251 in the middle school and 1,036 in the high school.
According to this data, these suspensions could be for issues ranging from tardiness, disorderly conduct, and harassment to larceny, vandalism and fire regulations.
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