School shutdowns over discipline are hurting students

By Cascade Policy Institute,

The public school shutdowns have gone too far.

Once reserved only for emergencies and dangerous weather, shutdowns at Oregon public schools have become commonplace for disciplinary reasons, adult staffing shortages, and lesson planning.

In November, Reynolds Middle School canceled in-person learning for three weeks because of fights and disruptive behavior. After two years of online learning, many students are finding it difficult to socialize and learn in person. But the last thing the school district should have done is shut down the school for behavior caused by shutting down the school.

As pointed out by Leslie Bienen in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, this shutdown tells students that poor behavior gets them out of school.

Keeping schools fully open for in-person instruction isn’t a partisan issue. Democrat State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin​ recently tweeted on this topic that “we must unite to demand these kids immediately receive full time in person school.”

Kids have had a difficult two years; why is it OK for school districts to take the easy way out?

Schools should remain open unless a legitimate emergency requires them to close. If they can’t, students and their families should be allowed to take the money the state would have spent on them at their local school and go elsewhere.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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