Letter: How Story on School Safety Missed Key Point

COMMENTARY Education

Letter: How Story on School Safety Missed Key Point

Jan 29th, 2020 1 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Jonathan Butcher

Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Education Policy

Jonathan Butcher serves as Senior Policy Analyst for the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation.
“Expelling students who make threats isn’t always best, experts say” misses a critical point. Liam Norris/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Leaving dangerous students in the classroom creates problems for their peers.

It is worth noting that the alleged shooter at Parkland was repeatedly allowed to return to school after issuing threats or committing disturbing behavior.

Policies that attempt to downplay dangerous activities in order to make school reports look better are polices that put lives at risk.

This Jan. 6 story on school safety (“Expelling students who make threats isn’t always best, experts say”) misses a critical point: Leaving dangerous students in the classroom creates problems for their peers. Research from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia and other school systems demonstrates that, when educators fail to enact meaningful consequences for disruptive student behavior, their classmates struggle in school.

This story notes, quite correctly, that there were many reasons for 2018’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But it is worth noting that the alleged shooter was repeatedly allowed to return to school after issuing threats or committing disturbing behavior.

The Broward County school system agreed with local law enforcement to limit student interaction with the police, creating a culture that tried to reduce the tally of suspensions and expulsions. Policies that attempt to downplay dangerous activities in order to make school reports look better are polices that put lives at risk.

This piece originally appeared in Greenville News