'Reverse Suspension' Is a Genius Way to Keep Kids From Misbehaving in Class

kid getting detention

Getting kids to comply with the rules is no easy feat -- especially during the tween and teen years. One middle school has come up with an outside-the-box solution to curb bad behavior, and it's worth considering. Huntington East Middle School in West Virginia implemented a "reverse suspension" in which the parent of the suspended student comes to class and spends the entire school day by that child's side. Wow, talk about an innovative solution! It's pretty genius, and here's why. 


The middle school years are typically the beginning of a period that's characterized by kids' being embarrassed by dear old Mom and Dad. So, the thought of their coming to class with you is probably the most mortifying show-and-tell ever, right? It must be, because it's working.  

Principal Frank Barnett told WOWK-TV that this creative method for addressing non-violent, non–verbally abusive behavior has helped the school reduce student suspensions by two-thirds. Even better, he revealed bad behavior incidents are down by more than half.

It turns out many students were viewing suspensions as a break from classes, the school learned. So, with this new form of discipline in place, not only are you in school, but your parent is also right there with you!

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As mom Stephanie Howell points out, this approach is a powerful motivator. "Who as a parent wants to sit in class? It's embarrassing," she told WOWK.

I've tried similar strategies with my children and they've worked like a charm. For instance, if my kids are running late, I'll say, "I will walk you to the bus in my pajamas if you don't get going," and they fly out the door -- nothing like a little parental embarrassment for motivation!

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It's also pretty genius because when your child is home from school, he or she isn't really learning anything. This way, they're not missing their lessons.

With an in-home suspension, depending on the child's age, parents may have to take a day off from work or cancel plans to supervise their child so he or she is not getting into more trouble at home. No doubt both the parent and child mope around the house not accomplishing much. 

The way Huntington East Middle School is handling it, parents get a glimpse into the student's day. If there's a reason that child is acting out, parents may have a chance to witness it firsthand and possibly offer a solution or intervention to help that student go down a better path.

With this approach working so well in West Virginia, it will be interesting to see if other schools adopt this totally unique form of discipline.

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