A HIGH school in inland Valencia province is making kids who get expelled or suspended carry out community service.
Pupils excluded permanently or temporarily for bad behaviour get unpaid jobs in nursing homes, making beds and cleaning, or sweeping up sports courts and weeding in forestry areas to prevent wildfires.
The school in Navarrés was the first to put the scheme in action, and other high schools in Chella, Bolbaite, Quesa and Bicorp – all in the province of Valencia and a long way inland – have followed suit.
Headmistress of the Navarrés school, Amparo Bono, says being suspended and staying at home is no punishment to teenagers who misbehave – in fact, they see it as a bonus, since they get a few days' rest.
But being made to carry out work in the community without getting paid 'makes them think', she says.
“It annoys them far more than simply being suspended, and they learn it is harder to do these jobs than to just get on with their homework or behave respectfully towards teachers and classmates,” says Sra Bono.
Community service is 'awarded' to delinquent kids based upon the severity of their offence, whether they have been previously suspended or in trouble for behavioural problems, and what their local council needs them to do.
Valencia's regional education authorities are considering rolling out the idea to all schools in the Comunidad Valenciana, which covers the three provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón.
Photograph: Children arriving at a school for the day's classes