School suspensions a big factor in student failures

By Gracie Bonds Staples 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

6:10 p.m. Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yvonne Ponder’s son was suspended so many times she lost count.

But each time, the 43-year-old Lawrenceville mother said, she witnessed her son, a special education student since ninth grade, fall farther and farther behind.

“He was so far behind he was never able to catch up,” Ponder said.

According to state Department of Education figures, more than 370,000 students were placed in in-school and out-of-school suspension last year.

In all, Georgia students lost more than 1.8 million days of instruction last year due to suspensions.

The practice has recently come under scrutiny by student advocates who argue the more time spent in such disciplinary holding cells, the greater the chances a student will fail to complete the school year or drop out altogether.

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