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Why I Believe My Son Was Unfairly Suspended

He simply traded a lunch plate!

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My son, Rahsaan, was at lunch and asked a friend, Kasey, for his salad. He said Rahsaan could have it and he passed him his plate. Rahsaan ate the salad and another kid, Sidney, asked if he was going to eat the remaining food on the tray. Rahsaan said no so he gave Sidney the food and Sidney gave him cookies. Kasey saw this and said he wanted his plate back. Sidney said no. They started to fight (not sure who threw the first punch).

Sidney goes to the office and Kasey goes to the homeroom. Rahsaan went to recess, math and science. He was pulled out in science and he missed half of ELA. He comes home with a note that he has two days of in-school suspension. I spoke with the principal and she couldn't give me the listed infraction that this fell under in the handbook, but told me she had the authority to issue punishments as she saw fit. The one kid received three days suspension, and the other a Friday detention. My son's punishment was the second most severe and he didn't have a fight.

I spoke to the Director of Middle Schools in my district, and after her investigation, she stood with the punishment, she said my child's actions caused the kids to fight and he had to be punished for that. It wasn't about the plate. She also said the other kid that received a detention was too harsh and he should not have been punished at all.

I then took my complaint to the superintendent and he also upheld the punishment. He agreed that Rahsaan's actions caused the kids to fight and his punishment was for that offense. I asked him what infraction in the handbook my son committed and he couldn't tell me, but he referred me to the rules for appealing a suspension. He made the final decision. So I asked since I didn't agree with the severity of the punishment what was my next course of action, he said, "The buck stops with me, there's no one else to talk to about this."

I tried to get added to the docket to present my issue to the school board, I received an email from the school board president, stating the superintendent handles suspensions, therefore the issue would not be addressed by the board. My son has never had a behavioral issue since he's been in school. This was his first offense, which pains me to even call it an offense. They were not able to provide me with the specific infraction and the cause for the suspension went from trading a lunch plate to his actions causing a fight.

This teaches students that only some are to be held accountable for their actions, and other students are to blame for their own bad choices. This incident involved two black kids and one white kid. The white kid received the least severe punishment, and he actually threw a punch. This punishment says trading a lunch plate is a more severe action than fighting.

My son lost valuable in class instruction. He was not allowed to interact with any other students or ride the bus to school. He had to sit in a room with no windows and not learn. This punishment served to teach nothing. I feel the punishments handed down were racially motivated and were a gross abuse of power. Because of this and several other issues at the school I am looking into homeschooling my son. I refuse to have him taught that this type of behavior is OK.


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