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For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 3, 2004
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Kimberly Beck 781-338-3105

New DOE Report: Student Exclusions Hit 10-Year High

MALDEN - The number of students excluded from school for disciplinary reasons reached its highest point in a decade during the 2002-2003 school year, according to a new Department of Education report.

In all, 1,890 students were "excluded," or punished by being removed from school for 10 or more consecutive school days. Of that group, 58 were excluded more than once, for a total of 1,949 exclusions during the school year.

The majority of the exclusions were given to students either caught with an illegal substance (25 percent) or caught with a weapon on school grounds (22 percent). Other offenses were assaults on school staff (15 percent) and assault on students (13 percent).

"This type of behavior simply cannot be tolerated in our schools, and students need to know that if they commit the offense, they will be disciplined," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "Although it bothers me to know this kind of behavior is going on at all, I'm pleased to see that teachers and administrators are responding appropriately."

The 2002-2003 results represent a sharp increase from previous years: there were 1,482 exclusions in 1995-96, the first year they were tracked; 1,412 in 1999-2000 and 1,775 in 2001-2002. Exclusions hit their lowest point in 1998-99 at 1,326.

Statewide, 206 districts reported no exclusions at all, 90 reported up to three. Just 13 districts reported more than 20 exclusions with three districts reporting 100 or more.

Of the 34 districts reporting 10 or more student exclusions, Springfield had the most with 583, followed by Boston (221), Worcester (102), Lawrence (75) and Holyoke (56).

As has been the trend over time, exclusion rates rose in the grades leading up to ninth grade, peaked at grade nine with 550, and then declined.

Other findings include:

  • Males were excluded far more frequently than females. Of the 1,949 exclusions, 1,510 were handed out to males, and 439 were given to females.
  • The majority of excluded students were white. In total, 744 were white, 611 were Hispanic, 524 were African-American, 62 were Asian and eight were Native American.
  • The number of students excluded for an entire school year jumped to 92, up from 49 the previous year. Of all of the exclusions, the majority (777) were for between 21 and 40 school days.
  • The majority of students (1,037) attended in-district alternative programs during their exclusion period. In all, 1,457 students received some type of alternative education, while 492 did not.

To view the full report, look online at the DOE's Web site.

Last Updated: June 3, 2004

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