Suspension and expulsion from school are used to punish students, alert parents, and protect other students and school staff. This policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) highlights aspects of expulsion and suspension that jeopardize children’s health and safety.

Unintended consequences of expulsion and suspension require more attention from helping professionals. Suspension and expulsion may exacerbate academic deterioration, and when students are provided with no immediate educational alternative, student alienation, delinquency, crime, and substance abuse may ensue. Social, emotional, and mental health support for students at all times in all schools can decrease the need for expulsion and suspension and should be strongly advocated by the health care community.

Recommendations are targeted at helping professionals, who can help schools address the root causes of behaviors that lead to suspension and expulsion and can advocate for alternative disciplinary policies.