Texas Study Shows Majority of Middle, High School Students Suspended or Expelled

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

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You don't mess with Texas, and, if you're in school there, you definitely don't wanna mess with the administration.

The New York Times reports a study by the Council of State Governments released earlier this week finds 31 percent of Lone Star State students were expelled or suspended off campus at least once while they were in middle or high school, averaging four times per student.

And, as far as in-school suspensions go? The rate hit nearly 60 percent, with one in seven students facing that punishment at least 11 times, according to the newspaper.

As a result: lower graduation rates and higher crime rates later in life, The Times notes, adding that minority students faced harsher punishments more often than white students.

"In the last 20 to 25 years, there have been dramatic increases in the number of suspensions and expulsions," Michael Thompson, director of the Justice Center at the Council of State Governments, tells the newspaper. "This quantifies how you're in the minority if you have not been removed from the classroom at least once. This is not just being sent to the principal's office, and it's not after-school detention or weekend detention or extra homework. This is in the student's record."

Plano Independent School District Superintendent Doug Otto tells The Times the study data shows "suspensions are a little too easy."

"Once they become automatic, we've really hurt that child's chances to receive a high school diploma," he tells the newspaper. "We've got to find ways to keep those kids in school. Don't get me wrong - we have to provide safe environments for all the other kids. But you have to balance it out and cut down the suspensions and expulsions."

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