Stakeholder Perspectives about Developing and Implementing an Online Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension for First Time Substance Use Policy Violators

AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore statewide stakeholder perspectives about developing and implementing an online alternative to suspension (ATS) program in the Northwestern United States for youth who have violated school substance use policies. Out-of-school suspension has been linked to negative outcomes and alternatives to keep youth in school are desperately needed. Qualitative description methodology with content analysis was used to analyze data gathered from 201 stakeholders (principals & vice principals). Three themes were identified that described stakeholders’ perspectives about the development and implementation of an online ATS program: 1) the program must be impactful, 2) have a high degree of usability, and 3) additional support may be necessary. Themes identified can guide the development and implementation of an online ATS program. In collaboration with stakeholders, the initiation of an online ATS program could reduce out of school suspensions for middle and high school age youth.

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