Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
Last school year, students in Missouri’s Riverview Gardens School District amassed a total of 5,012 out-of-school suspensions. With the school district’s money-flow dependent on student attendance, the district missed out on over $1.3 million in state aid. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the school district is testing a program at Central Middle School where students who misbehave are sent to separate classes for in-school suspensions instead of receiving out-of-school suspensions. State law requires out-of-school suspension for drug and violence-related violations, but punishments for other bad behavior are based on school district’s decisions. A total of nine classrooms outside of the middle school are set aside for students, where instructors will help them keep up with class work during their suspension. If expanded to the high school level, the program would include additional measures such as Saturday school, community service and conflict resolution classes. Other school districts across the nation have taken similar measures, such as lowering maximum suspension periods, to keep misbehaving students in school.