Trouble in the System

Is ACP really the solution?

You are in a classroom with 20 other students, staring at the work from the class you are supposed to be in. You’ve been taken out of the class because you’ve done something wrong, and you probably feel aggravated because you have no other choice but to be in there. On top of that, no one in this classroom is certified to teach all subjects, and can’t really help you on your verb conjugations or polynomials, and you are missing the lesson because you are in there.

ACP stands for alternative classroom placement and is an in-school suspension. You can have up to two full days in ACP before further punishments are enforced. There is a whole system you must go through before you are sent to ACP. It starts with the child being uncooperative or defiant and getting warnings from the teacher. Then comes a detention, and soon double detentions. Then, you receive Saturday school or depending on the situation, straight to ACP. And even though there are numerous steps leading to ACP, you will still find nearly a classroom full of students almost every day.

Although it is the student’s decisions that cause them to go to ACP, the reason parents send their teenagers to school is for them to learn. When they are being defiant or not following directions, disciplinary measures do need to be taken, but not to disrupt a student’s education. Although the student may be disruptive in class, there is still a chance for him/her to learn, and depriving the student from the opportunity to learn isn’t going to help. In some cases, the student’s behavior could be due to issues he/she cannot control. For example, a person is late to class because his/her mother has 3 other children that also have to be at school at the same time and he/she gets a Saturday school due to the tardy sweep. They the students might then miss a Saturday school because of some kind of emergency or problem at home, yet this kid is still accountable for attending their Saturday school and will receive ACP.

In ACP, the person is not given the appropriate instruction for the assignment that has been brought to him/her, because the school needs all certified teachers in a classroom and cannot afford to have a teacher in a classroom supervising those who are in trouble, or don’t care for their education. He/she might actually want to do well and school and this might put the person behind in their studies. This will, in the end, hurt the student once again.

As Sam Oramas, Assistant Principal, said “If we don’t have Saturday school and we can’t get a certified teacher, then what?” A more efficient way of keeping our students disciplined could be offering them a series of solutions. For example, they can do things after school instead of during their lessons. According to the severity of the incident, the school could assign community service hours. Then after school for a certain period of time, the student can do community service that would benefit the school. Another option is to have an ACP type program after school.  The parents can be notified that their student is staying a few hours after school, and they will be taken from their 6th period class. It would be the same thing you do in ACP, except not during your classroom instruction.

An easier way to prevent student’s education from being affected by ACP may just be to make going to Saturday school a bit easier. Students, with their parents consent, can choose a nearby Saturday that is free for them, and have a lesser chance of missing it. However, until the student does the Saturday school, it can be like an obligation, and he/she shouldn’t be allowed to partake in any school functions.

In the end, there are many ways in which ACP is a hindrance, and many ways in which the discipline system can improve, but the best way to not be affected by ACP is to follow the rules that you’ve been told and not receive ACP.

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