Sunday, February 8, 2009

Teen Suspended - Sent Outside Where it was cold..

Reposting this article because the newspaper will probably archive it soon.

LINCOLN PARK: Teen student left in the cold after being suspended

Friday, February 6, 2009 3:25 PM EST

By Jason Alley

LINCOLN PARK — The mother of a 16-year-old said her son was forced to stand outside in the cold Wednesday after being suspended from Lincoln Park High School.

School officials confirm the student was kicked out of the building, but said he was first given several opportunities to wait for his ride inside the school.

“He could have stayed inside the school by the doors and everything would have been fine,” said Diane Szalka, the district’s human resources director. “But after he was caught roaming around upstairs and interrupting classrooms, he was finally told to leave the building. … At that point, he was trespassing.”

The day started when Susan O’Rourke dropped her 10th grader off at school late. When he checked into the office, he was told he was suspended for the day because he had been tardy too many times.

O’Rourke said neither she nor her son knew he was set to be suspended that day, or he wouldn’t have shown up for school. As O’Rourke had already left the area, her son had to call her to come pick him up. They live on the other side of town from the school.

“As soon as they told him he was suspended, they told him he needed to leave the building,” O’Rourke said. “The principal saw him on his cellphone trying to call me and told him he needed to take his business outside. …

“Some schools were closed for the bad weather that day. It was 0-15 below wind chill and the principal made him wait outside. It was very cold and all he had on was a hoodie. …

“I expect the school to care for my child in a reasonable manner. Regardless of what he did, would you stick your pet outside in 0-15 weather to wait for any reason? That’s abuse.”

O’Rourke said her son, who had to wait in the cold for about 20 minutes before she arrived to pick him up, is bipolar and has been suspended before for his disruptive behavior.

“He’s not the worst child and he’s not the best child,” she said. “But he wasn’t putting anybody in danger. I would hope they wouldn’t do this to anyone’s child, especially not knowing how long it would take for me to get there and how long he would have to be waiting outside.”

Szalka said the teen was given several chances to call his mother from the office as well as on his cellphone and would never have been removed from the building had he remained calm while waiting for a ride.

And, she said, the school has records of calls made to O’Rourke telling her that her son was going to be suspended that day.

“Everything was handled appropriately,” Szalka said. “This has nothing to do with him having to go outside or not knowing he was suspended. … Had he not kept sneaking into the building and roaming around, everything would have been fine.”

Originally set to be suspended on Wednesday only, the school upped the punishment to a three-day reprimand following this latest incident.

“He was being insubordinate with the principal and also not following protocol and was trespassing,” Szalka. “That’s why they extended it. …

“He’s failing all of his classes and he failed all of last semester, too. He’s not coming in, and is playing games when he is here.”

O’Rourke said it’s the school’s responsibility to treat every student humanely; something she doesn’t feel was done with her child last week.

“Regardless of anything else, a school should be a safe place for learning and they should treat the students there with some common decency,” she said.

Contact Staff Writer Jason Alley at or at 1-734-246-0867.

1 comment:

  1. This story made ! check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.