Leaving Las Vegas (schools)

According to the Las Vegas Sun, principals in the Clark County schools have in recent weeks "been recommending up to 100 students for expulsion each day." Some of these pupils end up in special "behavior" schools, where they do nine-week stints before returning to their home campus. But others, who are formally expelled, are sent to "continuation" schools; these students cannot return to their original schools, but they may apply for readmission to another district facility (troublemakers are therefore passed around the entire district). Recidivism is high, too. Twenty-two percent of students who were referred for expulsion this year have already been referred again. All of which significantly disrupts the educational process and leaves Clark County in a bind: what does it do with its hardened discipline problems? (Surely other districts face the same conundrum.) We think that if reasonable interventions aren't working, if a student has clearly decided that he doesn't want to learn and, moreover, is bent on discouraging his peers from learning, then he should exit the system for good. That means spending the remainder of his days in academic boot-camp--no privileges, no fun, no free time, just hard learning and hard discipline. Attending the school one wishes should not become a "right" divorced from all responsibilities. It is a privilege and should be treated as such.

"Expelled, but not out," by Emily Richmond, Las Vegas Sun, April 14, 2008

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