Alexander Kolshorn

During the past few years, we have seen a decrease in suspensions, and expulsions across California, The Sweetwater Union High School District, and Bonita Vista High School. The discipline of students is improving, and our teachers are succeeding in being role models for students.

Improved discipline is demonstrated by the decline in underage drinking. Since 1991, the percentage of high school students drinking alcohol has declined.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “During 1991–2007, the prevalence of current drinking among high school students declined, from 50.8 percent (1991) to 44.7 percent (2007), and then significantly declined to 32.8 percent in 2015.”

In addition to a decrease in underage drinking, fewer students have been doing drugs over the past 20 years. This is likely to be a factor in reducing suspensions and expulsions, because it reduces the number of students caught doing this crime.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, This year’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of drug use and attitudes among American 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is encouraging, with “past-year use of illicit drugs other than marijuana continuing to decline to the lowest level in the history of the survey in all three grades.”

According to the Washington Post, they did find one factor that actually did seem to decrease the likelihood of drug use: student-teacher interactions. At some schools, students caught with drugs were sent to their teachers to discuss the consequences of drug use. This was associated with a 50 percent decrease in the odds of later marijuana use. This proves one way in which teachers are serving as role models, decreasing drug use and thus, the number of students who are suspended and expelled.
Smoking has also declined among teenagers over the past two decades. The smoking industry was taken over by the Food and Drug Administration since the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gave the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing of tobacco products, making it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors.

U.S. News states that the smoking rate among kids in high school is now a third of what it was just 20 years ago. It was 36.4 percent in 1995-1997 when the Food and Drug Administration declared jurisdiction over the tobacco industry and efforts to educate kids about the harms of smoking really began in earnest. Now it’s 10.8 percent. June 10, 2016.

The factors resulting in suspensions, and expulsions from schools have diminished. Because adults are being good role models for students, teenagers are now making lifestyle choices that not only avoid disciplinary action but also lead to a healthier lifestyle.