Suspension Report 102208.indd by n1884

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									 O UT OF S CHOOL S USPENSION :
 F INDINGS FROM THE L ITERATURE
 AND H ENNEPIN C OUNTY D ATA




                            Presented to:
            Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Inc.
2008 State of Students of Color & American Indian Students Conference
                       November 6, 2008
           Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data




            Contents

            Data sources and limitations ................................. 2

            Out of school suspension in Hennepin County ......... 2

            Suspensions by gender, race and ethnicity and
            special education satatus ...................................... 2

            Suspensions by grade level ................................... 4

            Types of infractions resulting in suspension .............. 5

            Location of infractions resulting in suspension .......... 7

            Understanding and preventing out of school
            suspension: Suggestions from data and literature ..... 7


            References .......................................................... 9


            All data analysis and presentations (figures, tables) in this report were produced by
            Hennepin County Research, Planning, & Development Department.

            Released in October, 2008




                                                                  Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                       Out of School Suspension:
                                       Findings from the literature and
                                       Hennepin County data

                                       A high school education is essential to surviving and thriving in today’s economy.
                                       Over the course of their careers, high school graduates earn, on average, $260,000
                                       more than students who dropout, pay about $60,000 more in taxes, and produce
                                       taxpayer savings in the form of avoided criminal justice, economic assistance and
                                       social service costs.1

                                       However, research has shown many students are leaving school without a diploma.
  * Data for this paper has been       Overall in Hennepin County in 2007, 65 percent of students graduated in four years,
  intentionally presented in aggre-    which means that about one in three Hennepin County students failed to graduate
  gate form to avoid comparisons       on-time, and graduation disparities persist. Fewer students of color, special educa-
  between districts. Race/ethnic-      tion students, students living in poverty and those with limited English proficiency
  ity and other information on
                                       completed high school on time in 2007 than their white counterparts or students
  student groupings throughout
  this document is not presented to
                                       overall.2 *
  highlight faults with particular
  student groups, but to emphasize     For some students, the path to dropping out of high school begins with a suspen-
  how current systems, policies and    sion. Numerous studies have established a link between out of school suspension
  programs in the county may not       and academic failure, and much like graduation rates, certain groups of students
  adequately serve all students.       – specifically African American males and special education students – are dispro-
                                       portionately affected by it.3, 4, 5, 6

                                       This paper examines suspension data for 10 selected Hennepin County school
                                       districts against the backdrop of findings about suspension published in the
                                       academic literature.

                                       In many ways, the Hennepin County suspension data confirms results found in
                                       peer-reviewed journals and national studies. More male students were suspended
                                       than female students during the 2005-2006 school year and male students were
                                       more likely than female students to be suspended multiple times. Hennepin County
                                       students of color were suspended at rates disproportionate to their enrollment in
                                       both the general education and special education populations during the 2005-2006
                                       school year. A larger percentage of general and special education middle school
                                       students were suspended during each of the 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 school years.
                                       However, in 2004-2005, the percentage of high school students suspended rose to
                                       levels near those of middle school students for both general and special education
                                       students.

                                       Given the importance of completing high school and the connection between
                                       academic failure and suspension established in the literature, examining suspension
                                       data becomes an important part of efforts to improve academic outcomes and
                                       graduation rates for all students. Long-term suspension data, which would allow a
                                       more complete examination of suspension rates and trends, however, was unavail-
                                       able for this paper, indicating a need for improved data collection and sharing to
                                       allow for a more thorough investigation and discussion of suspension and alternative
                                       approaches to suspension that may offer greater support for educational success.

Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department                                                             -1-
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                          Data sources and limitations
                                          Raw data for four school years (2002-2003 through 2005-2006) was obtained from
                                          the Minnesota Department of Education for 10 Hennepin County public school
                                          districts: Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis,
                                          Minnetonka, Richfield, Robbinsdale, and St. Louis Park. Although the data was not
                                          available for some years and grade levels, this sample represented 59 percent of
                                          Hennepin County school districts and 74 percent of the public schools’ student
                                          population.

 Information found in peer-
                                          Grade level data for all 10 selected school districts was only available for two school
 reviewed periodicals, university         years (2002-2003 and 2004-2005); therefore it was not possible to analyze trends in
 and national studies of suspension       suspension data across school years.
 was also included in this paper
 to provide greater context for           Consistent with the Minnesota Data Practices Act, only aggregate data was available
 Hennepin County data.                    and suspension numbers of less than five were filtered.


                                          Out of school suspension in Hennepin County
                                          Out of school suspension is a disciplinary measure in which students are not allowed
                                          to attend school or school activities for a period of time. In Minnesota, students can
                                          be suspended for up to 15 days.

                                          During the 2005-2006 school year in 10 selected Hennepin County school districts,
                                          7,672 students (6.4 percent) were suspended one or more times for a total of 13,127
                                          suspensions.


 More male students were
 suspended than female students
                                          Suspensions by gender, race and ethnicity and
 during the 2005-2006 school
 year. Male general education and
                                          special education status
 special education students were
                                                                                  Figure 1. Gender differences in suspended students
 also about twice as likely as female                                 Aggregate for 10 Hennepin County school districts in 2005-2006 school year
 students of both groups to be
                                                                             10%
 suspended multiple times.
                                        Percent of students suspended by gender




                                                                                  8%
                                             and special education status




                                                                                  6%
                                                                                                                                                           8.7%
                                                                                                                                      7.7%




                                                                                  4%
                                                                                                                                              4.8%
                                                                                          4.3%




                                                                                                                                                                   4.0%




                                                                                  2%
                                                                                                  2.5%




                                                                                                                  2.4%



                                                                                                                         1.2%




                                                                                  0%
                                                                                       Students suspended     Students suspended   Students suspended   Students suspended
                                                                                            one time             multiple times         one time           multiple times
                                                                                                 General education                           Special education


                                                                                         Male            Female
                                         Source: Minnesota Department of Education

-2-                                                                                                        Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                          During the 2005-2006 school year, Hennepin County students of color in this
                                          sample were suspended at rates disproportionate to their enrollment in both the
                                          general education and special education populations. White students made up 53.1
                                          percent and 46.3 percent respectively of the general education and special educa-
                                          tion enrollments during this year, but accounted for 19.2 percent of suspended
                                          students in general education and 21.2 percent of suspended students in special
                                          education. Black/African American students made up 25.6 percent of general
                                          education students and 38.0 percent of special education students enrolled during
                                          the 2005-2006 school year, but accounted for 63.5 percent of the suspended general
                                          education students and 67.3 percent of suspended special education students.

                                          Disparities were also apparent when the percentage of students suspended within
                                          each race was examined. When calculated within each race or ethnicity, the greatest
                                          level of disparity was found among Hennepin County American Indian students.
                                          Even though American Indian students made up 2.0 to 3.3 percent of enrolled
                                          general and special education students, 11.9 percent of American Indian general
                                          education students and 22.7 percent of American Indian special education students
                                          were suspended during the 2005-2006 school year.

                                          Data showing disparities in suspension rates for students of color in Hennepin
                                          County is consistent with findings in national studies. The most consistent findings
                                          in studies of school discipline have been suspension overrepresentation by African
                                          American males and students with low socioeconomic status.3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
                                          Nationwide, African Americans account for 16.9 percent of the student population,
                                          yet they constitute 33.4 percent of all suspensions.16

                              Table 1. Race/ethnicity distribution of suspended students
                     Aggregated from 10 Hennepin County school districts in 2005-2006 school year


                                                                  Percent                            Percent         Percent
                                                 Number          suspended          Number           enrolled       suspended
                      Race/ethnicity
                                               suspended*         from all          enrolled         from all        from all
                                                                 suspended                           enrolled        enrolled

                   American Indian                     253               4.9           2,118               2.0             11.9

                   Asian                               166               3.2           9,155               8.8              1.8
     General
     education     Hispanic                            483               9.3          11,027              10.5              4.4
     students
                   Black/African American            3,310             63.5           26,731              25.6             12.4

                   White (not Hispanic)              1,002             19.2           55,518              53.1              1.8

                                     Total          5,214             100.0         104,549             100.0               5.0

                   American Indian                     116               4.9             510               3.3             22.7

                   Asian                                36               1.5             697               4.6              5.2
     Special
                   Hispanic                            122               5.1           1,178               7.7             10.4
     education
     students
                   Black/African American            1,595             67.3            5,792              38.0             27.5

                   White (not Hispanic)                502             21.2            7,054              46.3              7.1

                                     Total          2,371             100.0          15,231             100.0             15.6

    Source: Minnesota Department of Education

    * Overall 7672-7585 = 87(1%) of suspended students were unaccounted for due to filtered numbers


Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department                                                                       -3-
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                       In one study of Indiana students, researchers found the greatest disparity in out-of
                                       school suspension by race in the categories of disruptive behavior and other
                                       behavior.9 When compared with whites, African American students were almost
                                       four times as likely to be suspended for disruptive behavior and Hispanic students
                                       two times. The Indiana study also found that the greatest disproportion by school
                                       level was in elementary school, where African American students were six times as
                                       likely as whites to be suspended. The highest rate of suspended Hispanic students
                                       was at the high school level. 9

                                       Some states and school districts are increasingly involving the courts and juvenile
 The literature suggests that          justice system in matters of school discipline, referred to as the school-to-prison
 “cooperative education-juvenile       pipeline.7 “Researchers and policymakers have expressed two primary concerns
 justice programs should be
                                       about this trend. First, an increased proportion of students have become involved
 monitored to ensure they do not
 contribute to the criminalization     with the juvenile justice system over behaviors that were once considered minor
 of school misbehavior, especially     schoolyard misbehavior. Second, minority students represent a disproportionate
 for minority students.” 7             number of those who become involved with law enforcement due to their behavior
                                       in school.”

                                       As in this Hennepin County sample, several published studies have found that, as a
                                       group, special education students are subjected to more suspensions than general
                                       education students.17, 18, 19 In Hennepin County during the 2005-2006 school year,
                                       students with emotional/behavioral disorders (43 percent) and learning disabilities
                                       (36 percent) made up the majority of the 2,371 suspended special education
                                       students.

                                         Figure 2. Disability composite of suspended students in special education (SE)
                                          Aggregate for 10 Hennepin County school districts in 2005-2006 school year
                                                                                   50%
                                            Percent within suspended SE students




                                                                                   40%
                                                                                                                                           43.1%




                                                                                                                                                                36.4%




                                                                                   30%


                                                                                   20%
                                                                                                                                                                                                          3.1%




                                                                                   10%
                                                                                         2.2%




                                                                                                                                                                                                                 0.04%
                                                                                                                                                                              8.4%
                                                                                                            5.1%
                                                                                                  0.6%




                                                                                                                                                     0.6%
                                                                                                                        0.2%


                                                                                                                                    0.2%




                                                                                                                                                                                              0.1%




                                                                                   0%
                                                                                         Autism




                                                                                                                                   delay(ages 3-7)
                                                                                                                                   Developmental

                                                                                                                                   Behavioral
                                                                                                                                   Emotional/




                                                                                                                                                                                                         language
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Speech/
                                                                                                                                                                             impaired



                                                                                                                                                                                            Physically
                                                                                                                                                                disability
                                                                                                  injury




                                                                                                                                                                Learning
                                                                                                           Cognitive




                                                                                                                                                                             Other health




                                                                                                                                                                                                         impaired
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Visually
                                                                                                                                                     impaired
                                                                                                                       severe
                                                                                                                       Cognitive
                                                                                                  Brain




                                                                                                                                                     Hearing
                                                                                                                                   disorders




                                                                                                                                                                                                          impaired
                                                                                                           mild




                                                                                                                                                                                            impaired




                                                                                                                                           Disability
                                       Source: Minnesota Department of Education


                                       Suspensions by grade level
                                       Published studies have found that students in middle school are experiencing the
                                       highest rates of suspension.10, 20 In one study, the number of suspensions increased
                                       more than 10 times from elementary to middle school.10 These findings need to
                                       be considered within the developmental context of early adolescence, a time of
                                       numerous physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes in students. The typical
                                       challenges of this period include coping with peer pressure, making decisions relative
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Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                                to experimenting with various behaviors (e.g. smoking, sexual activity) and begin-
                                                ning to form an identity separate from one’s parents. Also, middle schools are larger,
                                                less personal, and require greater self-control and self-direction. 10

                                                Hennepin County data for the 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 school years shows that:
                                                                   • General education middle school students were almost twice as likely as
                                                                     elementary students and three times as likely as high school students to be
                                                                     suspended during the 2002-2003 school year.
                                                                   • Special education middle school students were almost three times as likely as
                                                                     high school students to be suspended during the 2002-2003 school year but
                                                                     were just slightly more likely to be suspended than elementary special education
                                                                     students.
                                                                   • General education and special education middle school students were also
                                                                     more likely to be suspended than elementary and high school students during
                                                                     the 2004-2005 school year. However, in 2004-2005, the percentage of high
                                                                     school students suspended increased to levels near those of middle school
                                                                     students. This change occurred for both general education and special educa-
                                                                     tion students.
                                                         Figure 3. Percent of students suspended by grade - Aggregate for 10
                                                    Hennepin County public school districts 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 school years*

                                                                                 20%
                                      Percent of students suspended by grade
                                       (as a percent of all enrolled in grade)




                                                                                 15%



                                                                                 10%




                                                                                                                                                                           17.2%


                                                                                                                                                                                   15.6%
                                                                                                                                             14.5%
                                                                                                                                     13.1%




                                                                                 5%
                                                                                                                     7.8%


                                                                                                                            6.8%
                                                                                              6.1%




                                                                                                                                                                 4.7%
                                                                                                                                                       4.2%
                                                                                                     1.5%




                                                                                                              1.3%
                                                                                       3.4%




                                                                                 0%
                                                                                          2002-2003              2004-2005               2002-2003                      2004-2005
                                                                                              General education students                     Special education students


                                                                                       Elementary (K-4)               Middle (5-8)                   High School (9-12)


                                                    Source: Minnesota Department of Education
                                                    *The only two school years with grade-level data available from the MDE



                                                Types of infractions resulting in suspension
                                                Contrary to conventional wisdom, which holds suspension as a disciplinary measure
                                                reserved for the most severe violations of expected behavior - such as participating
                                                in gang activity or possessing weapons, drugs, or alcohol - many suspensions in Hen-
                                                nepin County were the result of other infractions. In the selected Hennepin County
                                                school districts during the 2005-2006 school year, 6.9 percent of suspensions among
                                                general education students and 5.9 percent of suspensions among special education
                                                students were for offenses such as participating in gang activity or possessing
                                                weapons, bombs, alcohol, drugs, tobacco or other chemicals.


Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department                                                                                                                          -5-
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                       About a third of the 13,127 Hennepin County suspensions in this sample involved
                                       fighting, 24 to 28 percent were for disruptive behavior, 18 percent were due to verbal
                                       harassment or threats, and 13 percent were for other infractions.

                                       Less serious infractions also accounted for a majority of suspensions among Indiana
                                       students in one published study. Five percent of suspensions were for the posses-
                                       sion of alcohol, drugs, weapons and tobacco, while 51 percent were for disruptive
                                       behavior and 44 percent of suspensions were for other infractions.3

                                                Figure 4. Reason for suspension in general education students
                                           Aggregate for 10 Hennepin County school districts 2005-2006 school year



                                                                                       Fighting, Physical
                                                                                        Assault, Hazing,
                                                                                             36.2%
                                                   Alcohol, Drugs,
                                                Tobacco, Prescription
                                                     Drugs, OTC                                                       Threat,
                                                        5.6%                                                          Verbal
                                                                                                                    Harassment
                                                                          Disruptive                                  17.1%
                                                                          Behavior
                                                                            24.3%                       Other
                                                                                                        13.4%




                                                                   Absenteeism                               Bomb
                                                                       2.1%
                                                                                                             0.2%
                                                                             Bullying            Gang
                                                                               0.1%              0.1%
                                                                                           Weapon
                                                                                            1.0%

                                       Source: Minnesota Department of Education



                                                Figure 5. Reason for suspension in special education students
                                           Aggregate for 10 Hennepin County school districts 2005-2006 school year


                                                                                        Fighting, Physical
                                                   Alcohol, Drugs,                       Assault, Hazing
                                                Tobacco, Prescription                        33.90%
                                                     Drugs, OTC
                                                        4.3%
                                                                                                                  Threat,
                                                                                                                  Verbal
                                                                        Disruptive                              Harassment
                                                                        Behavior                                  18.8%
                                                                          28.0%                       Other
                                                                                                      11.5%




                                                                        Absenteeism                          Bomb
                                                                           1.8%                              0.1%
                                                                               Bullying         Gang
                                                                               0.04%             0.3%
                                                                                          Weapon
                                                                                           1.2%
                                       Source: Minnesota Department of Education




-6-                                                               Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



  Most incidents resulting in
  suspension in the 10 selected
                                       Location of infractions resulting in suspension
  Hennepin County school districts                     Figure 6. Incident location of suspended students
  in 2005-2006 took place in              Aggregate for 10 Hennepin County school districts in 2005-2006 school year
  classrooms, hallways and other                                             School bus
  indoor sites.                                                                2.4%
                                                        Off campus
                                                             1.4%
                                                                        Outdoor
                                                                          6.4%


                                                                                            C lassroom
                                                                                               35.5%

                                                              Indoor,
                                                               other
                                                               30.9%


                                                                                  Hallway
                                                                                  23.2%




                                       Source: Minnesota Department of Education


                                       Similar to Hennepin County, a 1997 study of urban middle schools in the Midwest
                                       found that 58 percent of discipline incidents leading to an office referral or suspen-
                                       sion took place in classrooms, 13 percent in hallways, 5 percent occurred in the gym
                                       or locker rooms, 3 percent on playgrounds, 1 percent in the lunchroom and less
                                       than 1 percent took place in restrooms or on the bus.12

                                       The same study found that a vast majority of referrals to the school office or for
                                       suspension (75 percent) occurred during class, 13 percent during passing time, 7
                                       percent after school and 4 percent before school.12


                                       Understanding and preventing out of school
                                       suspension: Suggestions from the data
                                       and literature
                                       The Hennepin County suspension data obtained for this paper indicates a need for
                                       improved data collection to allow for a more thorough investigation and discussion
                                       of suspension. In addition, the literature review offers suggestions for alternative
                                       approaches to suspension that may yield greater support for educational success.

                                       Developing a standardized system for consistent discipline data reporting is essential
                                       to helping schools and educators better understand and address discipline concerns,
                                       and prevent out-of-school suspensions. Discipline data should be used to help
                                       schools and educators identify problems and resolve them, instead of being used to
                                       compare schools or define schools as “good” or “bad” based on the number, type, or
                                       severity of disciplinary incidents.21

                                       Research over the past 35 years has shown that discipline policies that are
                                       understood and accepted by teachers, students, and parents and consistently
                                       enforced by school officials correlate with lower levels of student disruption.11
Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department                                                              -7-
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                       District-wide codes of behavior can play an important role in reducing the disruptive
                                       behaviors that lead to student suspension and expulsion, especially in urban school
                                       districts with greater levels of diversity and increased student mobility. Researchers
                                       examining the development and implementation of a district-wide code of student
                                       behavior in Cincinnati found that the district-wide code of behavior allowed teach-
                                       ers, administrators, parents and community members to present the ‘unified front’
                                       to students that is required for making a code of behavior effective. 11

                                       Several studies examining school discipline policies that prevent suspension and
                                       promote safe and productive school climates have emphasized the importance of
                                       involving parents and families in resolving school discipline issues and making school
                                       discipline the shared responsibility of students, parents, teachers and administrators.
                                       8, 17, 22, 23
                                                     One study of disciplinary referrals and consequences in Midwestern middle
                                       schools found that the most common interventions educators typically engaged
                                       in before a disciplinary referral were “conferencing with the student,” “telephoning
                                       the parent,” “changing the student seating assignment,” “consulting counselor,”
                                       and “sending a report home.” 10 Holding a conference with parents or referring the
                                       student to other programs, administrators, or agencies occurred quite infrequently.12

                                       Three-tiered models of violence prevention have also been noted as guides for orga-
                                       nizing school discipline and school climate efforts. 8, 11 Within these models, primary
                                       interventions teach and reinforce pro-social behaviors in all students. Secondary
                                       interventions involve specialized programs for groups of students seen to be at risk
                                       for problem behavior and tertiary interventions provide specialized supports for
                                       individual students who exhibit chronic and intense problem behavior.11

                                       All students have rights afforded to them under the Individuals with Disabilities
                                       Education Act (IDEA). In 1997, this legislation was amended to include a Functional
                                       Behavior Assessment (FBA). The FBA mandates that schools deal with students
                                       with disabilities who present with problems that lead to suspension or exclusion.
                                       Nevertheless, no specific format for its implementation was provided in the
                                       legislation. “Although the FBA starts with problems, the goal of FBA is to develop
                                       strength-building solutions in four areas of students’ growth: belonging, mastery,
                                       independence and generosity.24 Effective ‘consequences’ include positive behavior
                                       supports rather than merely a menu of sanctions. For problems to become teaching
                                       opportunities, adults need skills to connect with youth to help them calm turbulent
                                       emotions and alter clearly distorted thinking.” Limited literature is available in this
                                       area.




-8-                                                               Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



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                                       2. Hennepin County Research, Planning and Development. (2008). Attendance,
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                                       3. Center for Evaluation & Education Policy. (Summer 2004). Unplanned
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                                       6. Arcia, E. (2006). Achievement and Enrollment Status of Suspended
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                                       10. Mendez, L.M., & Knoff, H. (2003). Who Gets Suspended from School and
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Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department                                                         -9-
Out of School Suspension: Findings from the literature and Hennepin County data



                                       14. Massachusetts Department of Education. (2004) Student Exclusions in
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                                       18. Skiba, R., Poloni-Staudinger, L., Simmons, A., Feggins-Azziz, R., &
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- 10 -                                                            Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department
This material can be provided in different forms, such as large print or on tape. Call 612.348.9900. To receive an
electronic copy, call 612.348.4466 or send a request to hcsiced@co.hennepin.mn.us.




                  Hennepin County
                  Research, Planning, & Development

                  A-2308 Government Center

                  300 Sixth Street South

                  Minneapolis, MN 55487-0238




  Hennepin County Board of Commissioners
    Mike Opat, 1st District
    Mark Stenglein, 2nd District
    Gail Dorfman, 3rd District
    Peter McLaughlin, 4th District
    Randy Johnson, 5th District
    Linda Koblick, 6th District
    Penny Steele, 7th District

  Hennepin County Administration
    Richard P. Johnson, County Administrator
    David J. Hough, Deputy County Administrator

  Research, Planning, & Development Department        For more information, contact:
    Kristine Martin, Director                         Milica Mitterhauser at 612.215.2760 or at milica.mitterhauser@co.hennepin.mn.us.

    Constance Osterbaan, Research Manager
                                                      Hennepin County provides equal access to employment, programs and services without regard
    Milica Mitterhauser, Principal Planning Analyst
                                                      to race, color, creed, religion, age, sex (except when sex is a Bona Fide Occupational Quali-
    Kelly Clausen, Editor
                                                      fication), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, public assistance or national origin. If
    Rebeca Mueller, Production                        you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the Human Resources Department,
                                                      A-400 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487, or 612-348-3562.

								
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