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College of Education


Keeping Students in School to Give Them a Chance to Succeed

There are many factors that can lead to a student dropping out of school. Dr. Susan Bon, Associate Professor and Higher Education Program Coordinator in the College of Education, wants to make sure that the school itself is no longer one of them.

For more than seven years, Dr. Bon’s concern has been the plight of “wounded students,” those students whose difficulties with school stem from experiences outside of school. These can include low-income backgrounds, distressed family structures, substance abuse, or traumatic life events, and they can be as damaging to a student’s chances of success as a physical or mental disability. Because of these and other factors, wounded students are at a great disadvantage when it comes to maneuvering the public school system:

“…the public school system has been quick to adopt and impose rigid policies upon students, such as zero tolerance ... These non-evidence based policies have received increasing criticism because of the negative impact on disadvantaged and underserved students. Wounded students in particular are further disadvantaged by such punitive and exclusionary practices that add to their struggles to find success in school.”

Along with advocating changes to policy, Dr. Bon educates other teachers and education professionals about the needs of wounded students. Earlier this summer, she gave a keynote presentation at the Wounded Student Conference sponsored by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, and will be part of the National Dropout Prevention Center webcast “Getting It Right: Wise Policy Makes for Effective Dropout Prevention” on September 13, 2016, from 3:30-4:30pm EST.

She has also written an article for the forthcoming Volume 26, Number 1 of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Newsletter, available soon.