The PBIS World Book

Alternatives To Suspension

Why should I do it:

  • Suspending kids is very unproductive for academics
  • Some kids get suspended on purpose to get out of work or away from something they do not want to cope or deal with
  • Suspensions are not an effective deterrent for many kids, who do not see it as a significant consequence or negative stimulus
  • Providing alternatives to suspensions can be much more effective in getting students’ behavior to change
  • There are many alternatives that motivate students better than suspending them

When should I do it:

  • When a student gets into trouble and suspended frequently
  • When a student is trying to get suspended on purpose or to get out of something
  • When students really need the instruction but a consequence or discipline is warranted
  • When suspensions do not seem to be doing anything and are ineffective

How do I do it:

  • There are various alternatives to suspension and ways to carry them out.
  • Always use a neutral tone and do not allow yourself to be drawn into power struggles.
  • Alternatives may be discussed with a student or students before implementing them
  • Some common alternatives include:
    • in-school suspension
    • school service (for example, assisting custodial staff with after school clean-up, lunch clean-up, etc)
    • mini course
    • parent supervision
    • counseling
    • community service
    • behavior monitoring
    • restitution
    • problem solving or behavior contract
    • alternative programming
    • loss of privileges (like lunch, recess, social time, etc)
    • time out
    • detention (before or after school)
    • mentoring (with a teacher, counselor, or other staff member before or after school)
    • behavioral contracts
    • send homes
    • referral to community mental health services
  • Refer to the resources below for more ideas and implementation

Resources & Support for technique: