Cornwall’s office is where the suspensions happened. Photo by: Sarah Clench

Last year Ventura High School had a total of 176 suspensions which, when compared to the school population of 2,138 students, is about 8% of the student body receiving a suspension.

More specifically, 31% of the suspensions were due to the usage of a controlled substance, possessed, or sold, which increased when compared to 2014 when the percentage was approximately 23%.

Will that number increase as a result of this year’s incidents involving teen drinking and substance abuse?

Assistant principal Chris Murphy states, “If every student on this campus behaved in a morally upright way like nearly all of us know how to do, we would not have any more suspensions period, logic would suggest.”

With a school sponsored event such as Homecoming, the school is responsible for all attendees from the time they arrive until the end of the event. Therefore, the school has the authority to suspend an individual if he or she violates the code of conduct in that time frame.

Cornwall’s office is where the suspensions happened. Photo by: Sarah Clench

If caught using, possessing, or selling a controlled substance — such as alcohol — the student would receive a call to their parents, a two day suspension and one day of alcohol counseling that takes place on campus.

Furthermore, if the student is an athlete or is in extracurricular activities, they could face more consequences than others due to activity specific policies.

“Unfortunately, a lot of kids made the poor choice of doing something and they were all dealt with. One person had to be sent out on the ambulance, and it’s sad to call the parent and have them pick up their kid,” Charles Cornwell stated.

A student can have a maximum of 20 cumulative suspensions, but if exceeded, the school can expel or seek alternative placement for the individual.

Cornwell states, “I think there are better ways to deal with discipline. We need to hold everybody accountable, but at the same time, there [has] also got to be what we call restorative justice. We have to figure out a way to make sure [it] doesn’t happen again. My goal is not to increase suspensions. That’s the last thing I want.”