When Allen Crampton was faced with a three-day suspension from Boonsboro High School in Maryland for acting up in class, officials offered an alternative: He could come to school if his mother came with him. She took them up on the offer, and the novel punishment proved to be effective.

"I think he'll be more careful and listen a bit now," Debbie Crampton said following her three-day stint in high school, where she had to follow the regular rules and even got a little homework. "I didn't think he minded at first, but when we were coming home, he asked me if it was my last day. He was glad to have it over with."Parental attendance has several advantages over a regular suspension. First, of course, the student doesn't have to miss class. Second, parents become more involved both with their children and with their school. Third - and perhaps most important - it is so mortifying for high school students to have to go anywhere with a parent, much less to school, that they probably would not do anything that might risk a repeat sentence.

Asked about his mother's attendance at school, Allen would say only, "It's terrible." What more eloquent testimonial could anyone need?