|For Immediate Release|
|Thursday, September 14, 2000|
|Contact:||Darrell S. Pressley, 781-338-3126|
Public School Student Exclusions Lowest in Five Years
Malden - The total number of students expelled or suspended for 10 days or more from Massachusetts public schools in 1998-99 was the lowest in five years at 1,326, Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll announced today.
The 1,326 figure was an 11 percent drop from 1996-97, when there were 1,498 student exclusions. The 1998-99 figure was a slight decline from 1,334 the prior year.
A student exclusion is defined as the removal of a student from participation in regular school activities for disciplinary purposes for more than ten consecutive school days, permanently, or indefinitely.
In the 1998-99 school year, 29 percent of all exclusions involved a student with a weapon on school premises, an increase of two percentage points from the previous year. Of the 386 exclusions involving a weapon, eight percent involved a gun. The percentage of student exclusions that resulted from possession of an illegal substance was 21 percent. Exclusions resulting from a felony committed outside of school declined from 10 percent in 1997-98 to seven percent in 1998-99.
The Education Reform Act of 1993 and subsequent amendments authorize school principals (rather than school committees) to expel students who carry weapons or illegal drugs to school, assault school personnel or are convicted of a felony off school grounds. Districts are not required to provide excluded students with alternative education, with the exception of special education students who, under federal law, are entitled to receive alternative education if removed from school for 10 days or more. In the 1998-99 school year, 65 percent of all students who were excluded from school were provided with an alternative education, a decline of two percentage points from the previous year.
To view the 1998-99 student exclusions, visit http://www.doe.mass.edu/infoservices/reports/exclusions/.