School expulsions have been on the rise and on the forefront of youth and adult allies to create a solution.
Questions raised are:
One of these stories was of my friend, Chayanne Ochoa, who goes to Arvin High School and got expelled last school year, ’10-’11, during the last part of the school year. In his case it involved a “violent” altercation between an old acquaintance and Ochoa. The old acquaintance had been spreading lies of Ochoa, and he had enough of hearing him talk lies. Though it wasn’t a very violent altercation, the school officials made it seem as if it was. He was sent to Juvenile Hall to wait for his mother to pick him up.
Afterwards, his mother and him had a conversation with the Dean, which was not a pleasant one. Two days after being suspended Ochoa returned back to school, but again he found himself in the Dean’s office, this time to find out he was not supposed to be back in school yet, and to find out because of this he was getting expelled.
Here is a recent update from him on how he was after the experience and what kind of student he is.
A friend of Ochoa, Nicholas Diaz saw the whole thing, though he has never experienced suspension or expulsion due to him being a “good” student. He explains what kind of student he is, and whether or not getting expelled takes a psychological toll on a student. “I would say I’m a “B”-average student, probably. I don’t really see categorization of students of them being called “good” or “bad”. Umm, I think it would take a psychological toll, because it’s like they’re either getting kicked out of school makes them feel bad and affects students in a way, like I guess in a negative way since expulsion is something really bad when you think about it causes the person to feel bad.”
Desiree Gomez, who is different from both Chayanne Ochoa and Nicholas Diaz and a year younger than both, she explains what kind of student she is, and that there is profiling of students at school. Also if getting expelled or pushed out takes a psychological toll on students. “I’m a “D/C”-average student. Yeah ‘they’ do profile, if “good” students are getting high at the back of the school, they don’t do anything to them, like we were in class, my friends one which is an “A” student and the one was a “D/C” student, had the same essay word by word, and the “bad” one got a “D’ grade, while the “good” one got an “A”. Getting expelled or suspended does not take a toll on my friends, because it’s easier, getting credits is faster, in Nueva High School. They can’t even walk in groups that are more than four or they get in trouble and they see it as why go here instead of somewhere where we are expected to do bad and act bad. Umm, I think it would take a toll because it’s like they’re getting kicked out of school, makes students feel bad and affects them in a way, like I guess it’s like a negative way since expulsion it’s something really bad when you think about it causes the person to fell bad.”
They all tie in together, though they all don’t know each other, except for Chayanne and Nicholas. They are all in the spectrum from “good” or “bad” students, and are defined by their grades and their actions in school. Though Nicolas does not see a lot of student profiling, Desiree and Chayanne have experienced it first hand, though Desiree’s experiences are from her friends and what she hears from them.
There are many solutions to this problem. One could be creating a youth panel or council to mediate altercations rather than having them sent to the dean. Chayanne and Nicolas shared their thoughts on that issue. “Well I think it could help, but it could make it worse ’cause the other person could say that the other person is a woose, or they’ll find something to say after wards (Chayanne)”. “Yeah, it would be better than expulsion or suspension, it’s a better opportunity, like it is something better way as too see what happened not just one side, you see the whole story and say your side.(Nicholas).”
Could having a youth panel decrease suspensions and expulsions and give a better opportunity for students to see empathy from their peers? It is a huge possibility. But we will not know until we put it into action in our schools from middle schools through high schools, through California. Lets set a model to show that we aren’t about incarceration but about educating our youth and setting them up for a successful future.
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