What is ISS in School?

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Has your child received an in-school suspension, and you are unsure of what that means? Are you a student who has received an in-school suspension and is curious about what your experience will be like? Regardless of which end of the spectrum you may fall on, we are here to provide you with answers.

In-school suspension, also known as in-school suspension, is a disciplinary action often given to students for breaking school rules. There are several nuances which company in-school suspension; however, these may vary by school. In this article, we will not only provide you with information on what in-school suspension is, but we will also provide you with answers to common questions that may come to mind when thinking of in-school suspension. These questions may surround what happens during in-school suspension and how long it may last.

To get the answers you desire, and more, all you have to do is keep reading. We will even answer the question of if the in-school suspension is beneficial to the student. What are you waiting for?

What Does ISS Mean in School?What Does ISS Mean in School?

ISS refers to in-school suspension. In-school suspension is a disciplinary action taken against students for violating school rules. However, the action does not justify removing the student from school entirely. Instead, the in-school suspension is meant to aid students in modifying their behavior and learning from their previous mistakes.

In-school suspension is a tactic that can vary in each schooling environment. It is meant to isolate troublemakers and, in a nutshell, “teach them a lesson” so that they do not repeat their actions. In-school suspension is often the last step before an out-of-school suspension is given to a student.

How Does ISS Work in School?

How Does ISS Work in School?

In-school suspension is a punishment that takes place in middle school and high school. The primary function of in-school suspension is communicating to the children that their behavior or the specified action is unacceptable. In-school suspension may function differently depending on the school you attend. It is often a student’s goal to avoid in-school suspension at all costs, as it is a harsher punishment than traditional detention. However, there are several different types of penalties that a school can administer. An in-school suspension is closer to the top of the list in terms of being the harshest.

Being in school suspension used an in-school suspension is not something to take lightly. Though the infractions may vary, resulting in in-school suspension, some common actions will successfully cause a student to use this type of punishment. These activities include but are certainly not limited to the following:

  • Consistent behavior which impedes the learning of other students
  • Destruction or vandalism of school property
  • Bullying, threatening, or harassment of others
  • Possession of a weapon on school property
  • Possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs on school premises
  • Continuous disrespect or defiance of teachers and staff
  • Repeated disruption of school activities

Please remember that these are samples, and some schools may be more or less strict depending on your child’s behavior track record and the seriousness of the offense. Students can also receive an in-school suspension for behavior not just at school but at school-related events. These events include school-sponsored activities, bus rides to and from school or events, or even during off-campus lunches.

The in-school suspension rules may vary by school. When students are given in-school suspension, they are expected to show up for school; however, instead of attending their regular courses, they will spend their day in the designated in-school suspension area. This location is determined by the school and can vary.

How Long is ISS in School?

How Long is ISS in School?

The length of time spent in in-school suspension is heavily based on the activity you are receiving punishment, as some will be harsher than others. Many schools have a ten-day limit on the amount of time that can be spent in in-school suspension. However, the length of days spent in ISS may vary. One thing to remember is that in-school suspension can not be indefinite. There must be an end date in sight for students and for parents.

In-school suspension lasts all day long. Instead of students attending their classes, they would report to in-school suspension and do the course work assigned to them. They are not able to participate in their lunch period or have interactions with outside students during this period. Though they would not be marked absent as they would for out-of-school suspension, it is still almost as if they are not there.

What are the Benefits of School Suspension?

What are the Benefits of School Suspension?

Though in-school suspension programs are essentially punishments for students, they may have several benefits in the long run if executed thoughtfully and with the reformation of the child at the front of the program. There are several benefits to in-school suspensions when completed in an optimal environment; these include the following:

  • Though isolated, the in-school suspension allows a child to stay in school and not get behind on their schoolwork. Though there may be assignments mandated for in-school suspension or activities they must complete, their education does not have to suffer. They are ultimately not deprived of the educational experience.  Some s
  • Behavioral or learning disabilities can sometimes be detected while serving an in-school suspension. Once it is detected, students will be able to get the aid they need and can flourish in the traditional learning environment.
  • Students benefit from having time to work on their schoolwork instead of sitting aimlessly in front of a television. They can still be a part of the educational environment while being reprimanded for what they did wrong.
  • In-school suspensions also discourage the repetition of offenses. Depending on your school’s level of involvement and investment into the in-school suspension program, students may feel so strongly against not wanting to sit through the program again that they maintain acceptable behavior, at least while at school.
  • Some schools may offer tutoring or extra support during in-school suspension that students need but ultimately are too afraid to ask for. Having this academic support available could be a great benefit. It would allow them to get any questions answered without doing so in front of their course or general student body.
  • Group discussions or one-on-one discussions with teachers and peers may allow students to understand how their actions impact them and the students they interact with every day.
  • Depending on the length of an out-of-school suspension, a student may be more likely to drop out of school after completing their sentence because they have missed so much schoolwork. The hope is that in-school suspension will have the opposite effect and push students to continue their academics.
  • In-school suspension also works to encourage positive behavior. This sways the individual from completing the action which got them suspended in the first place.

5 In-classroom Suspension Activities

5 In-classroom Suspension Activities

Though the activities that occur within in-school suspension may vary depending on the school your child goes to and the child’s age, they all have a common goal in mind. That goal includes decreasing the likelihood of a repeat offense and getting to the root cause of the child’s issue. The following list contains activities that students may encounter within their in-school suspension, all of which would be supervised by an ISS instructor.

Group and Individual Counseling

There are several beneficial activities for students to complete while in in-school suspension; counseling is one of them. Several different counseling methods can be utilized during this period. These may include one-on-one counseling with a faculty member, group counseling for all individuals to talk through their issues as a unit or even peer-to-peer counseling. These three methods have begun being used in school suspension in order to help the child in the long run, not just punish them for the offense they committed.


Another activity that may happen during the in-school suspension is tutoring. Some students may act out because they do not fully understand the material being presented in class. Rather than endure what they expect will be an embarrassment for their lack of understanding, they become the class clown. Tutoring can be heavily beneficial for these students. Getting them back on track academically may aid in reducing the behavior problems they are experiencing. This tutoring can either be done with designated students or with the teachers who may act as the ISS supervisor.

Work-based in-school suspension

Some schools may go as far as to have students complete a work-based in-school suspension. Students may be forced to work on a school-centered project like a school garden or prepare materials for a school event in these environments.

Written assignments

Written assignments may be given to students to force them to reflect on the activity that got them suspended. This may be more prevalent with younger students. Often ISS instructors will provide students with prompts that they will need to follow, which not only forces students to reflect on their behavior but also finds alternate solutions for channeling their anger or emotions.

Busy work

The most common activity given in-school suspension or in programs that are not as developed is busywork. Though not as beneficial, this may include a standard in-school suspension work packet that students must complete before their suspension time is completed.

These five groups of activities are most commonly seen in in-school suspension programs across the country. However, they are not the only activities. Schools are increasingly becoming more and more creative with disciplinary programs to ensure they fit the needs of their schools. There is no cookie-cutter set of activities that works for all schools and all students. For in-school suspension to succeed, they must cater to the demographics and information presented within a specific school.

Does ISS Really Work?

Does ISS Really Work?

There are mixed reviews surrounding if educational institutions found that in-school suspensions really work. One of the significant benefits of an in-school suspension is that a student is able to actually stay in school rather than become a burden for the parent. For example, if your child is suspended, depending on their age, parents will need to make arrangements for where they can stay while not attending school. If no accommodations are made, the child may be forced to stay home alone. This provides the student with more time to wreak havoc without supervision. However, regardless of whether a child is in or out of school, the in-school suspension program must be run correctly to be effective.

In-school suspension can be beneficial if it is utilized to get to the root of an issue rather than as a temporary babysitter. The school’s goal should be to do more than just separate them from the school’s regular population but also get the back involved and actively participating healthily.

When determining if in-school suspensions are working, it is also vital that we look at the statistics surrounding them. This includes the demographics and the frequency of who is getting the most in-school suspensions. Having and working through these statistics and actual numbers will ensure that you do not hold a bias against a specific group; if so, it would likely show within the numbers.

Many schools have worked to revamp their programs to ensure that they are not only disciplinary but also come with tactics to aid in reforming the student. Several activities may go into quality in-school suspension programs. This can include counseling, tutoring, different forms of mock trials, and several other practices to help students understand what they did wrong in order to take the needed steps to fix it.

However, these extra amenities would likely come with a cost to the school. A cost that some schools may not have the means to incur. Finding extra money would likely be a challenge for schools that are struggling to keep their doors open and who would probably need the reformation the most. This could have an extreme impact on if in-school suspension programs are really working.

Some schools which have saw improvements in their programs do more than just give students in-school suspension work packets and leave them for the day. They are doing things like addressing the root of some of the student’s issues by changing the climate around the school. They also provide meaningful assignments for in-school suspension that actually help the student understand what they are doing wrong.

If you are only worried about the student being present for the suspension, the problem is not likely to be adequately addressed. More and more school boards are pushing schools to develop creative ways to cultivate a positive environment that teaches discipline rather than punishment. In-school suspension is often the last push before a student receives an out-of-school suspension or is expelled. Therefore, it is extremely important to reign the child in before things get out of control.

Does in-school suspension really work? Unfortunately, that is not a question that can be answered universally. Instead, it must be taken on a smaller scale. Yes, some programs do work, and they are able to transform students. However, there is still an abundance of programs that do not work. These are programs that pass students busy work and hold no value. These are programs that only keep students in the school to ensure that their out-of-school suspension numbers are “not too high.” These are the programs that may need the reform the most.

Wrapping Things Up: What is ISS in School?

We hope this article has not only taught you that in-school suspension is a disciplinary action given to students for committing school infractions but that it can be used as a tool for reform. No in-school suspension is indefinite; many schools will have a maximum on the number of days a child can be given.

The hope is that by keeping the child in school, faculty can help them get to the root of the issue, help them academically or discourage them from completing this behavior twice. In-school suspension can have several benefits and provide several practical activities that may help students see the error in their ways. These activities may include counseling, tutoring, or even physical labor within the school.

As a whole, ISS can be highly beneficial for students, faculty, and the environment within schools if appropriately structured. Yet this structure may not be something that can be put in place for all schools due to limitations with faculty and even funding. It is vital to address these programs on a school-by-school basis to cultivate a more significant impact further.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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