What I asked
Mostly, I wanted to know how many kids have been told to "go home" as punishment for something that they did. In the 2008-9 school year, 169 kids were suspended from school, none permanently. 122 of these, or 72%, were high schoolers; 45 (roughly 27%) were middle school students; the remaining two were attending Lenape. Most of the suspensions were for five days or less (149, more than 88% of cases) - this included the two Lenape students. Twenty kids were given longer out-of-school suspensions - nearly 12% of cases.
I also asked how the punishments fit the crimes. Interestingly, the offenses aren't reported using the same categories as are listed in the Code of Conduct, so the information was less clear. Here's the list in order of occurence, with my paraphrasing of the name of each offense:
- Insubordination: 77
- Willful acts to disrupt normal operations in school: 76
- Disorderly conduct (includes abusive, lewd, and obscene behavior): 30
- Misconduct on school bus: 30 (all Lenape)
- Drug offenses: 20 (all high school)
- Misuse of electronic devices: 9 (all middle school)
- Stealing: 8
- Tobacco: 6
I realize that violent kids have no place in school, but how serious does a cell phone offense have to be to send a kid home? I was surprised at how few of these cases were related to drugs, but I have to wonder how serious the inappropriate language has to be to get the kid the reward he might just be looking for.
I'm glad the district made it so easy to discover the truth here - that we're awfully quick with the nuclear option of sending a kid home. Am I off-base in thinking we could make this a lot less common practice?