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Special Report: Suspending Disbelief

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
Special Report: Suspending Disbelief story image
Over the years, school suspensions rates across the country have dramatically increased.  Suspensions are how many schools deal with problem students.  It's cheap and convenient to send them home for days at a time and hope they learn their lesson.  But studies show suspensions don't work and that most trouble-makers want to stay home from school anyway.  Students that get suspended will get suspended more than once and are three times more likely to drop out of school altogether.  One mountain school district though found an alternative.  It's called The Buncombe County Alternative to Suspension Program or  B.C.A.T.S..

"These are students who kind of act out. It is true that the squeaky wheel does get the grease and often times students are dying for attention," said Max Weissman. "It's kind of a twofold goal. One is to teach students to be successful. We feel like spoon-feeding students success they become to feel addicted to being successful in school and they start to strive for it."

Last year, 360 students were sent to B.C.A.T.S.. Most of the referrals were for drugs, alcohol, or insubordination.  Other students also found themselves in the program for fighting, skipping school, and theft. 

Since most of these kids are having trouble at home they also receive counseling along with their class work.

According to counselors the program seems to be working. Statistics show 64% of  B.C.A.T.S. students are more likely to improve their G.P.A and 66% of them are more likely to stay in school.

By Megan Schiering
Follow Megan on Twitter @mschieringWLOSSpecial Report: Suspending Disbelief
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