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ERIC Number: EJ916295
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Rethinking Suspensions
Stetson, Frank H.; Collins, Betty J.
Principal Leadership, v11 n2 p40-44 Oct 2010
The overrepresentation of the Black and Hispanic subgroups in suspension data is a national problem and a troubling issue for schools and school systems across the United States. In Maryland, an analysis of student suspensions by school districts for the 2006-2007 school year revealed disproportionality issues. In 23 of the 24 jurisdictions, including Montgomery County, the percentage of suspensions of Black students exceeded their representation in the student population. Montgomery County Public Schools is the nation's 16th largest school district and serves approximately 141,000 students in 200 schools. Thirty-eight percent of the students are White, 23% are Black, 23% are Hispanic, and 16% are Asian. The district's suspension rate for Black and Hispanic students has been more than four times the rate for White students and three times the rate for Asian students, and students in the Black and Hispanic subgroups have had significantly lower levels of academic achievement. This has been most problematic at the middle and high school levels. The executive leadership team determined that the district needed a comprehensive plan to reduce the suspension rates of Black and Hispanic students and formed a work group in spring 2007 to develop a systemic strategy to reduce the overall suspension rates--in particular, those of Black and Hispanic students. Four foundational elements--communication, cultural competencies, equitable practices, and relationships--formed the basis for the work group's nine recommendations. The district remains committed to reducing the number of suspensions, the percentage of students being suspended, and the disproportionate suspension of certain student subgroups while maintaining safe and focused teaching and learning environments that engage students in rigorous and challenging curricula. This commitment includes the expectation that all schools promote engagement in the learning process as the primary strategy for addressing problematic behaviors. Schools are continuing to refine the improvements that they have made, identifying root causes for discretionary suspensions, setting school improvement goals, implementing successful strategies, using data analysis and monitoring tools, and reviewing and sharing alternatives to suspension.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland