Two female Somali students were suspended from Lewiston High School for 10 days for fighting. Reading about this in the paper, I was struck by its importance to our community.

It is not significant that the students were Somali or even that they were female. What must be important is that they were separated from their education for two weeks. The only school decision worse than this is suspending students for being truant.

This briar patch solution must carry with it unintended consequences. Students having the most difficulty scholastically are also the ones most frequently disciplined and hence suspended. One, or at most two, such suspensions will probably make it impossible for an already struggling student to finish the school year.

Accordingly, suspension can easily lead a student to drop out of school. Suspension of rebellious and disrespectful students may ease the burden of educators, but it creates a problem for society. As adults these dropouts will have to survive on minimum wage employment or upon welfare.

Therefore, suspension doesn’t make sense. A better solution would be assignment of 40 hours of after-school or weekend class time spent in the student’s weakest subject. Then, when the punishment is completed, they will, by every expectation, be ahead in their education rather than two weeks behind.

This, hopefully, will result in training scholars rather than training truants.

Richard Sabine, Lewiston



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