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