When there are undeniable facts of ADHD in a child, there is very little reason to move to suspension as a remedy for associated ADHD. When students are known to have ADHD, it is incumbent on schools to have in place all the necessary personnel and tools to ensure that adequate instruction can be provided.
When ADHD students are expected to learn in similar ways as students who do not have any cognitive limitations, a classroom or school will set itself up for trouble. ADHD students must be instructed with the understanding of their challenges in mind. Teachers must be trained appropriately. Classrooms must have necessary accommodations. Students in classrooms with ADHD students must be aware of the presence of the ADHD students in terms of educating them regarding how they should interact, keeping in mind that ADHD children can learn, but that they learn differently.
I once had a student sent to my office because he would not take off an outer garment which the teacher insisted that he should. The student was not only very upset but seemed confused. When I inquired what had happened, I learned that the students was told that if he did not do what he was told to do that he would not enter the class. I found that the actions and tone of the “teacher” was highly inappropriate; it seemed that the teacher was bullying the child — a situation that I had witnessed by many teachers in many schools.
I continued to inquire as to what precisely the teacher wanted the student to do and was told that the teacher wanted the student to take off his coat. I asked, “Why didn’t you do what the teacher asked you to do?” The student replied, ” I don’t have a coat”, and he was correct. He was wearing a jacket.
I told the student to remove his jacket which he promptly did and I escorted him back to his classroom. Well, the eyes of the teacher could have pierced my forehead. Later that day, I learned that the teacher was rather upset that the student was not suspended. Really, I thought to myself! This child was known to have ADHD, but, the approach that was taken before was to suspend.
In many of our schools, suspending children is simply postponing a challenging situation that should be dealt with then and there.
Every school should be educated in how to instruct ADHD students and bring to an end any seemingly quick fixes, such as suspension. In the end, the child loses out on what should be a right to be educated.
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