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Information Services - Statistical Reports

Student Exclusions 1996 - 1997

Letter from the Commissioner
Student Exclusions by District

Background

A student exclusion is defined as the removal of a student from participation in regular school activities for disciplinary purposes permanently, indefinitely or for more than ten consecutive school days.

The 1996-97 school year was the fourth year in which the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collected data on student exclusions at the individual level rather than at the aggregate level. All schools were required to submit data on students excluded, as defined above, between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1997.

The following analysis is based on data reported by school districts. The data were returned to school districts for verification, and editing of the data was done in cases for which corrections were submitted.

Results

There were 1,498 student exclusions in the 1996-97 school year. A total of 1,446 students were excluded once, and 49 students were excluded two or more times during the year. The greatest number of exclusions for an individual student was four.

Table 1. Exclusions Over Time

 1996-971995-961994-951993-94 *1992-93
Number of exclusions149814821485958983
Number of individual students excluded144613571390NANA
Number of students excluded more than once4910585NANA
Percent of students who received alternative education62.9%62.7%67.4%59.3%NA
* Through 5/1/94 NA - Data not available.
NA - Data not available.

The number of students excluded during the 1996-97 school year increased slightly from the previous school year and has remained fairly constant over the past three years. It is important to note that the 1993-94 data were collected as of May 1, 1994, and do not represent the entire school year. Therefore, the increase observed from 1993-94 to 1994-95 may not have been as dramatic as it appears. Rather, the number of exclusions may have increased steadily between 1992-93 and 1994-95, and then leveled off. The number of students excluded more than once during the school year dropped by more than half, from 105 students in 1995-96 to 49 students in 1996-97.

Table 2. Exclusions: Student Characteristics

 1996-971995-961994-95
#%#%#%
Gender
Male
Female
Not reported
1212
286
0
80.9
19.1
1148
333
1
77.5
22.5
0.1
1232
248
5
83.0
16.7
0.3
Race/Ethnicity
Asian
African-American
Hispanic
White
Native American
Not reported
41
350
506
595
4
2
2.7
23.4
33.8
39.7
0.3
0.1
54
336
584
490
11
7
3.6
22.7
39.4
33.1
0.7
0.5
18
320
510
628
3
6
1.2
21.5
34.3
42.3
0.2
0.4
Age
10 years old and under
11-13 years old
14-21 years old
Not reported
47
314
1122
15
3.1
21.0
74.9
1.0
37
330
1087
28
2.5
22.3
73.3
1.9
38
273
1147
27
2.6
18.4
77.2
1.8
Program Status
Regular education
Special education
Referred for special education
Not reported
1107
364
9
18
73.9
24.3
0.6
1.2
1162
305
4
11
78.4
20.6
0.3
0.7
1034
385
56
10
69.6
25.9
3.8
0.7

Approximately four-fifths of the students excluded from school were male students. The proportion of male exclusions in 1996-97 increased slightly from the previous year.

In comparison to the total student enrollment, a disproportionate number of students excluded from school were students of color. Minority students were approximately one-fifth of the total student enrollment but comprised three-fifths of student exclusions. Hispanic students, almost one-tenth of the total student enrollment, accounted for one-third of the exclusions. Black students, 8.4 percent of the total student enrollment, accounted for nearly one-quarter of the exclusions. Although white students comprised close to 80 percent of the total student enrollment, they comprised 40 percent of the student exclusions.

Figure 1

Nearly three-quarters of the students excluded from school were between the ages of 14 and 21 years old. Exactly 21 percent were students between the ages of 11 and 13, and approximately three percent were students age 10 and younger. The youngest students excluded were six years old, and the oldest students were 20 years old. About five percent of all students excluded from school were in grades kindergarten through five. Almost 32 percent of excluded students were in grades six through eight, and nearly 64 percent were in grades nine through twelve. The ninth grade had the largest number (396) of students excluded, over one-quarter (26.4 percent) of all students excluded.

Regular education students, who comprised 83.4 percent of the total student enrollment, made up 73.9 percent of student exclusions. Special education students, who comprised 16.6 percent of the total student enrollment, accounted for almost one-quarter of the exclusions. Less than one percent of the exclusions involved students referred for special education.

Schools reported one or more offenses for each student exclusion. Table three lists the number of exclusions that occurred for each of the offenses specified in state law as actions for which school principals are authorized to expel students, and for "other" offenses. Exclusions resulting from more than one offense are listed as either a "weapon combination" or a "non-weapon combination".

Table 3. Exclusions: Offenses

 1996-971995-961994-95
#%#%#%
Weapon on school premises
Illegal substance on school premises
Assault on school staff
Assault on student
Felony outside of school
Other
Weapon combination
Non-weapon combination
Not reported
317
334
179
138
63
286
79
100
2
21.2
22.3
11.9
9.2
4.2
19.1
5.3
6.7
0.1
257
276
187
158
62
419
53
60
10
17.3
18.6
12.6
10.7
4.2
28.3
3.6
4.0
0.7
388
307
218
NA
65
396
62
42
7
26.1
20.7
14.7
NA
4.4
26.7
4.2
2.8
0.5
Type of Weapon*
Knife
Gun
Explosive or incendiary device
Other
Not reported
242
36
18
99
1
61.1
9.1
4.5
25.0
0.3
220
25
7
53
5
71.0
8.1
2.3
17.1
1.6
298
49
11
83
9
66.2
10.9
2.4
18.4
2.0
*Percent is for exclusions involving a weapon.
NA - Data not available.

Over one-quarter of student exclusions were for weapons or weapon combinations. This is an increase from the previous year of more than five percentage points. Over one-fifth of the exclusions were for possession of an illegal substance, an increase from the previous year of nearly four percentage points, and almost one-fifth were for an offense reported as "other". Nearly 12 percent of the exclusions were for an assault on school staff, continuing a slight decrease seen over the previous two years. Exclusions for an assault on a student, slightly above nine percent, also declined from the prior year.

Of the 396 exclusions that involved a weapon, slightly more than three-fifths involved a knife, a decrease of 10 percentage points from the previous year. Approximately nine percent involved a gun, and almost five percent involved an explosive or incendiary device. Some other type of weapon accounted for one-quarter of the exclusions involving a weapon, an increase from 17 percent the previous year.

Figure 2

Type of offense varied by race/ethnicity. White students who were excluded from school were more likely to be removed for possession of an illegal substance than for any other offense (39.3 percent). African-American students were more likely to be excluded for possession of a weapon (23.4 percent), Asian students for a felony outside of school (26.8 percent), and Hispanic students for an offense reported as "other" (27.1 percent).

Students in grades six through eight were more likely to be excluded from school for a weapon than for any other offense. About 30 percent of the student exclusions from grades six through eight were due to a weapon, compared to about 16 percent of the student exclusions from grades nine through twelve. Students in grades nine through twelve were more likely to be excluded from school for possession of an illegal substance (28.5 percent) than for any other offense.

Schools were asked to report the date the student was excluded and either the date the student returned to school or was eligible to return to school, or that the exclusion was permanent.

Table 4. Length of Exclusion*

 1996-971995-961994-95
#%#%#%
14-29 days
30-59 days
60-179 days
180-364 days
One year
Longer than one year
To end of current school year
To end of next school year
Permanent
Not reported
254
387
95
26
113
6
397
12
164
44
17.0
25.8
6.3
1.7
7.5
0.4
26.5
0.8
10.9
2.9
347
409
130
32
57
0
273
8
165
61
23.4
27.6
8.8
2.2
3.8
0
18.4
0.5
11.1
4.1
208
443
108
19
72
17
381
0
187
50
14.0
29.8
7.3
1.3
4.8
1.1
25.7
0
12.6
3.4
*Data are reported in calendar days, not in school days.

Nearly 43 percent of student exclusions were for fewer than 60 calendar days, compared to 51 percent the prior year. Just over one-quarter of the exclusions lasted from the date of the exclusion to the end of the 1996-97 school year, an increase of eight percentage points from the previous year. Nearly 11 percent of the exclusions were permanent, about the same as in the previous year. Exactly 7.5 percent of exclusions were for a full year, up from 3.8 percent the prior year.

White students were more likely to be excluded permanently than any other racial group. Almost 17 percent of white students who were excluded from school were removed permanently, compared with 6.6 percent of African American students, 12.2 percent of Asian students, and 7.3 percent of Hispanic students.

The length of exclusion varied by the type of offense. Exclusions resulting from a weapon, an illegal substance, a felony outside of school, a weapon combination, and a non-weapon combination were more likely to lead to a permanent exclusion than an exclusion of a lesser length of time. An assault on school staff most often resulted in an exclusion of 30 to 59 days. Exclusions for an assault on a student and for offenses reported as "other" most often lasted from 14 to 29 days.

Students in grades kindergarten through five who were excluded from school were most often excluded for 14 to 29 days. Students in grades six through eight were more likely to be removed for 30 to 59 days, and students in grades nine through twelve were more likely to be excluded to the end of the 1996-97 school year.

In the 1996-97 school year, nearly 63 percent of the students excluded from school were provided with alternative education, most often with an in-district alternative program. In the cases where students were not provided with alternative education, the reason reported for over 75 percent was that the school chose not to provide it, nearly double from the previous year.

Figure 1

Nearly 55 percent of regular education students excluded from school received alternative education. Although by law special education students who are excluded from school must be provided with alternative education, just under 90 percent of special education students received alternative education. Of the 39 special education students who did not receive alternative education, the reason reported for 23 of the students was that the school chose not to provide it. For 11 of the students it was reported that the student refused or did not respond, four of the students were reported as being incarcerated, and one student had moved.

For all offenses except possession of an illegal substance, a majority of regular education students excluded were provided with alternative education. However, less than two-fifths of regular education students excluded for possession of an illegal substance were provided with alternative education. Regular education students excluded due to an assault on school staff were more likely to be provided with alternative education (70 percent) than were students who were excluded due to another type of offense.

Table 5. Exclusions: Alternative Education

 1996-971995-961994-95
#%#%#%
All Students
Alternative education provided
Alternative education not provided
Not reported
942
538
18
62.9
35.9
1.2
929
484
69
62.7
32.7
4.6
1001
411
73
67.4
27.7
4.9
Regular Education Students
Alternative education provided
Alternative education not provided
Not reported
608
492
7
54.9
44.4
0.6
669
433
60
57.6
37.3
5.2
608
374
52
58.8
36.2
5.0
Special Education Students
Alternative education provided
Alternative education not provided
Not reported
323
39
2
88.7
10.7
0.5
252
46
7
82.6
15.1
2.3
351
24
10
91.2
6.2
2.6
Special Education Referrals
Alternative education provided
Alternative education not provided
Not reported
6
3
0
66.7
33.3
0
2
2
0
50.0
50.0
0
42
13
1
75.0
23.2
1.8
Type of Alternative Education Provided
Home tutoring
In-district alternative program
Alternative program in another district
Private alternative setting
Work/community service setting
Not reported
247
579
14
94
2
6
26.2
61.5
1.5
10.0
0.2
0.6
181
586
16
142
1
3
19.5
63.1
1.7
15.3
0.1
0.3
268
590
30
43
1
69
26.8
58.9
3.0
4.3
0.1
6.9
Reason Alternative Education Was Not Provided
Student moved/transferred
Student refused/did not respond
Student was incarcerated
School chose not to provide it
Not reported
30
80
8
405
15
5.6
14.9
1.5
75.3
2.8
31
153
21
186
93
6.4
31.6
4.3
38.4
19.2
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA

The provision of alternative education varied by the length of the exclusion. Regular education students most likely to be provided with alternative education were those excluded for 30 to 59 days (77 percent). Almost 65 percent of regular education students excluded for one year were provided with alternative education, and 51 percent of regular education students excluded until the end of the school year received alternative education. Regular education students excluded permanently (20 percent) and those excluded for fewer than 30 days (39 percent) were least likely to be provided with alternative education.

Table 6. Distribution of Districts by Number of Exclusions

Number of Exclusions1996-971995-961994-95
#%#%#%
020056%21361%15647%
1-39025%7421%10331%
4-94212%4413%4714%
10-19154%93%124%
20-4941%51%62%
50-9921%10%31%
100 or more31%31%21%

Over half of the 356 districts reported no student exclusions for the school year 1996-97. A total of 156 districts, or 44 percent, excluded students. One-quarter of all districts reported between one and three exclusions. Twenty-four districts, or seven percent of all districts, reported ten or more student exclusions. This is an increase from the prior year when 18 districts reported ten or more student exclusions.

Table 7. Districts with Ten or More Student Exclusions

1996-97 1995-96
District#per 1000 students% Alt. Ed.District#per 1000 students% Alt. Ed.
Springfield39916.871 Springfield38416.356
Lawrence18416.486Lawrence26423.380
Boston1091.768Holyoke11514.984
Worcester773.497Boston901.477
Lowell553.684Worcester391.697
Cambridge364.581Lowell352.374
Methuen264.119Cambridge263.365
Holyoke243.129Dennis-Yarmouth255.456
Quincy222.523Framingham233.196
Framingham162.194Lynn171.347
New Bedford161.1100Fitchburg163.150
Peabody132.123Greater Lawrence Voc1510.57
Southern Berkshire1312.0100Woburn132.815
Chicopee121.633North Brookfield1214.3100
Plymouth121.417New Bedford110.891
Dennis-Yarmouth122.658Stoughton112.773
Greater Lawrence128.733Northampton103.280
Revere112.064Whittier Voc108.820
Westfield111.718 
Dracut102.570
Fairhaven104.510
Haverhill101.20
Waltham101.970
Old Rochester109.690

Although some districts may have excluded more than 10 students from school, due to their large enrollment they had fewer than four exclusions per 1000 students enrolled in the district. Other districts had fewer than 10 student exclusions, but had four or more exclusions per 1000 students. In 1996-97, 15 districts had more four or more student exclusions per 1000 students, a slight increase from 13 districts in 1995-96.

Table 8. Districts with Four or More Student Exclusions per 1000 Students

1996-97 1995-96
District#per 1000 students% Alt. Ed.District#per 1000 students% Alt. Ed.
Springfield39916.7971 Lawrence26423.380
Lawrence18416.3886Youthbuild Boston CS_116.70
Marthas Vineyard813.0175Springfield38416.356
Southern Berkshire 1312.00100Holyoke11514.984
Old Rochester109.5990North Brookfield1214.3100
South Shore Reg Voc59.2460Greater Lawrence Voc_1510.57
Greater Lawrence Voc_128.6633Old Colony Voc Tech510.10
Provincetown26.1050Whittier Voc108.820
Cambridge364.5381Northeast Metro Voc87.125
Fairhaven104.5310South Shore Charter16.7100
Whittier Voc54.220Harvard76.614
North Shore Reg Voc24.200Dennis-Yarmouth255.456
Methuen264.0619Concord-Carlisle44.425
Upper Cape Cod Voc24.0550 
Ware54.0020

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Last Updated: January 20, 1998
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