Behind the Doors of In School Suspension

The idea of in school suspension may not seem appealing, but for ISS officer Danny Speicher, it is an opportunity to enrich the kids who have to be there for the day.

“My thing in here is academics first,” Speicher said, “Whatever you are doing [in here], it should stimulate your mind.”

The daily schedule of the ISS classroom is simple; it mostly consists of kids quietly completing their coursework. However, it can take some time to get everything settled.

“I get my list of students who are supposed to be in here, and then I ask [Security Guard]  Bret Romi or [Security Guard] Charles [Thomas] to go out and get those students,” Speicher said, “Usually by first hour I have everybody who is supposed to be in here.”

Once everyone is rounded up, and the regular four or five students are present, the day begins. According to Speicher, the first order of business is to go over the rules of the ISS room. These rules include the prohibition of cellular phones and the requirement that students are either completing their homework or reading at all times. While Speicher wants his students to feel comfortable, he makes sure to regulate their activities so that they are kept in line. Even the lunch schedule is designed to remind students that they are in a disciplinary environment.

“The whole thing is to minimize contact with friends,” Speicher said.

After the students finish their lunch, which they eat in the ISS room, they continue their coursework until the end of the day. This monotony is meant to deter students from repeating the act which landed them in ISS, and this method is effective in some circumstances.

“[ISS] works really well for the behavioral issues; it gets the student out of the class and allows the teacher to continue teaching,” Speicher said. “It gives the student a safe and structured environment.”


When the students are having problems with their actions in class, the ISS process works to set them straight. When the students are being punished for truancy, however, the strategy often falls short.


“The mentality of taking a student out of class for a day because they were out of class for a day is something that concerns the administration and me,” Speicher said. “The question at hand is what to do about it.”


With the majority of the students in ISS guilty of only truancy, and with these same students being repeat attendees of ISS, the presence of a problem is clear. Over time, the scale of the issue has increased. This has prompted Speicher to take a more active role in talking about a solution for the troubling situation.


“We have had conversations about creative ways of handling it, [but] for the time being it is the only way to discipline,” Speicher said, “It is not ideal, but it is the system we have currently.”


As frustration with this approach grows, the ISS system faces more pressure to change. The main concern about changing the system is what the overhaul will actually look like. Speicher knows the issue well, and he reflects that uncertainty.


“There are schools that have a Saturday program, [and] that would be much more of a deterrent, [but] there is no certainty about how to ensure attendance,” Speicher said.


At this point, it looks as if the discussion will continue for some time. The administration hopes that they will find a new approach as soon as possible and avoid continued damage of students’ academic success; however, until that happens, these kids will have to spend their days with Speicher in ISS.