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