In-school suspension (ISS) is a disciplinary technique which is designed to penalize problem students for their behavior while still ensuring that they participate in the academic community in some way. This method of discipline has a number of supporters, who feel that it has a lot of merits when compared to more traditional out of school suspension. School districts around the world use in-school suspension, among an assortment of other options, to deal with problem students.
When a student is put on in-school suspension, he or she is removed from the traditional classroom environment and put into a special suspension classroom, led by a teacher or team of teachers. The suspension may last a few days or weeks, depending on the student's offense, and the student may be warned that future offenses could result in additional suspension or expulsion. For the length of the suspension, the student reports for classes in the suspension room, and he or she is expected to complete homework assignments, work on projects, engage with other students, and, of course, show up for class.
Advocates of in-school suspension say that it benefits both the student and the community at large. Since the student is expected to be in school, he or she cannot be out making trouble in the community, something which can become an issue with out of school suspension. The student also maintains a regular routine which makes it easier to return to conventional classes, and the in-school suspension encourages the student to remain interested and engaged in academic issues.
The student to teacher ratio in in-school suspension programs is ideally low, allowing teachers to address their students on an individual basis. This can help teachers figure out the root causes of negative behavior, in the hopes of eradicating such behavior, and it can also help teachers identify areas of interest for the student, which might be used to customize an educational program which keeps the student interested in learning. The emphasis on maintaining a normal school routine also makes the student feel valued and important, which can be very beneficial.
In-school suspension programs are administered in various ways. Some districts, for example, take a very penal approach, creating a very focused environment with vigorous discipline. Some students feel that this is not very beneficial, as it makes the suspension feel more like a prison term than a learning experience. Other districts encourage open discussion and collaboration in suspension classes, creating a more positive learning environment.