Education

Suspensions, dropouts, crimes decrease in state’s public schools

Suspensions, dropouts and school crimes all decreased for the 2018-19 school year, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

NCDPI reports that statewide trends show a steady decrease in the number and rate of crimes reported on public school campuses.

Long-term suspension and short-term suspensions also declined compared to previous year, according to an NCDPI news release. The state’s dropout rate decreased for the second consecutive year.

The news release announcing the coming of the state’s annual Consolidated Report didn’t provide data. That’s expected to be shared when the State Board of Education (SBE) meets March 3-4.

Last year’s report showed the number of reportable crimes in grades K-13 decreased by 0.9 percent in the 2017-18 school year and the rate of offenses per thousand students decreased by 1.1%.

The Consolidated Report will follow last week’s Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) report, which found black students who attend North Carolina’s public schools are 4.1 times more likely than their white counterparts to receive short-term suspensions.

To put that in context, consider black students make up just 25% of children enrolled in the state’s public schools. They receive, however, more than half – 55.7% — of short-term suspensions. Meanwhile, white students are 47.3% of the state’s public schools’ students but receive only 25.8% of short-term suspensions.

“Many factors contribute to the racial disparities we see in schools across the state, including the implicit racial bias of decision makers, structural racism and, in some cases, explicit discrimination against students of color,” Meredith Horton, the SCSJ deputy executive director, said in a statement last week.

Suspensions receive lots of attention because students of colors receive the brunt of them, and the consequences can be life changing. Research shows that suspensions can lead to academic struggles and increase a child’s chances of involvement with the criminal justice system.

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