Lisa Love is the new principal at Harrisburg High School, who decided to issue more than 500 suspensions to a school of 1,100 students, making the people wonder what did those students do.
Lisa Love is principal at the school since January, and she instantly noticed a popular problem among the students, most of them had a concerning amount of unexcused absences from class.
“The problem I’ve noticed here as principal is that students are coming to school but they are not going to classes when they get here,” Love said. “Many parents send their kids to school and they’re thinking they’re going to class. I needed to reach out because of the enormous number not going to class. … If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here…to focus on student achievement.”
Lisa Love thought that one way of dealing with the problem was to suspend the students who had an excessive amount of unexcused class absences. Assistant Principal Keith Edmonds explained how they established who will get the suspension, 35 missed classes within a 45-day marking period.
“Right now, the process is just to weed out where our issues are so that we can properly address them,” said Edmonds. Love agreed, saying, “If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here…to focus on student achievement.”
Love continued, “We don’t like to suspend,” adding, “I don’t even like talking about suspensions. But because we’re in a place where our school is a priority school, we need to send the message that we value education first.”
Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney supported Love’s idea to issue one-day suspensions, saying it should be a “wake-up call” to parents in a school district where rate is 30 percent lower than the statewide average
“In order for us to get different results, we have to do something different,” said Knight-Burney. “We can’t do the same ol’ same ol’ and then complain about it when we’re getting the same ol’ results.” Indeed, that would be the definition of insanity.”
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