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 -4- Hennepin County Research, Planning & Development Department 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 References 1. Rouse, C. E. (2005, October 25). The Labor Market Consequences of an Inadequate Education. Paper presented at the Fall 2005 Symposium on the “Social Costs of Inadequate Education.” Abstract retrieved August 21, 2006, from http://www.tc.columbia.edu/centers/EquitySymposium/ symposium/resourceDetails.asp?PresId=3 2. Hennepin County Research, Planning and Development. (2008). Attendance, Attachment, and Achievement: 2008 Report Card on Hennepin County Public School Students. Minneapolis, MN: Mitterhauser, M. 3. Center for Evaluation & Education Policy. (Summer 2004). Unplanned Outcomes: Suspensions and Expulsions in Indiana (Education Policy Briefs. Vol. 2 No. 2). Bloomington, IN: Karega Rausch, M., & Skiba, R. 4. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. (2004, July). The Relationship between Achievement, Discipline, and Race: An Analysis of Factors Predicting ISTEP Scores (Children Left Behind Policy Briefs Supplementary Analysis 2-D). Bloomington, IN: Skiba, R., & Karega Rausch, M. 5. Christle, C. A., Nelson, C. M., & Jolivette, K. (2004). School characteristics related to the use of suspension. Education and Treatment of Children, 27(4), 509-526. 6. Arcia, E. (2006). Achievement and Enrollment Status of Suspended Students: Outcomes in a Large, Multicultural School District. Education and Urban Society, 38(3), 359-369. 7. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. (2004, July). Factors Associated with State Rates of Out-of-school Suspension and Expulsion (Children Left Behind Policy Briefs Supplementary Analysis 2-B). Bloomington, IN: Skiba, R.,Eaton,J., Sotoo, N. 8. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. (Summer 2004). “Discipline is Always Teaching”: Effective Alternatives to Zero Tolerance in Indiana Schools (Education Policy Briefs. Vol. 2 No. 3). Bloomington, IN: Skiba, R., Karega Rausch, M., & Ritter, S. 9. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. (2004, July). Disproportionality in School Discipline Among Minority Students in Indiana: Description and Analysis (Children Left Behind Policy Briefs Supplementary Analysis 2- A). Bloomington, IN: Karega Rausch, M., & Skiba, R. 10. Mendez, L.M., & Knoff, H. (2003). Who Gets Suspended from School and Why: A Demographic Analysis of Schools and Disciplinary Infractions in a Large School District. Education and Treatment of Children, 26(1), 30-51. 11. Brown, L., & Beckett, K. (2006). The Role of the School District in Student Discipline: Building Consensus in Cincinnati. Urban Review, 38(3), 235- 256. 12. Skiba, R., Peterson, R., & Williams, T. (1997). Ofﬁce Referrals and suspension: Disciplinary Intervention in Middle Schools. Education & Treatment of Children, 20(3), 295-316. 13. Montgomery County Public Schools. (2006). 2005 Annual Report on Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence. Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Public Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED494323) 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 Massachusetts Public Schools: 2002-2003 (Commissioner’s Update, June 7, 2004). Malden, MA: Massachusetts Department of Education. 15. Rossi, S.E. (2006). From Zero to Inﬁnite Tolerance: An Examination of Exclusion Rates in Massachusetts Public Schools. North Adams, MA: Master’s Thesis, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED492086) 16. Day-Vines, N.L., & Day-Hairston, B.O. (2005). Culturally Congruent Strategies for Addressing the Behavioral Needs of Urban, African American Male Adolescents. Professional School Counseling, 8(3), 236- 243. 17. Skiba, R., & Edl H. (2004). The Disciplinary Practices Survey: How Do Indiana’s Principles Feel about Discipline (Children Left Behind Policy Briefs Supplementary Analysis 2-C). Bloomington, IN: Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED488898) 18. Skiba, R., Poloni-Staudinger, L., Simmons, A., Feggins-Azziz, R., & Chung, C.G. (2005). Unproven Links: Can poverty Explain Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education? The Journal of Special Education, 39(3), 130-144. 19. United States General Accounting Ofﬁce. (2003). Special Education: Clearer Guidance Would Enhance Implementation of Federal Disciplinary Provisions (GAO Publication No. GAO-03-550). Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Ofﬁce. 20. Dupper, D.R. (1998). An Alternative to Suspension for Middle School Youths with Behavior Problems: Findings from a “School Survival” Group. Research on Social Work Practice, 8(3), 354-366. 21. Nichols, J.D. (2004). An Exploration of Discipline and Suspension Data. The Journal of Negro Education, 73(4), 408-423. 22. Breunlin, D., Cimmarusti, R.A., Bryant-Edwards, T.L., & Hetherington, J. S. (2002). Conﬂict Resolution Training as an Alternative to Suspension for Violent Behavior. Journal of Educational Research, 95(6), 349-357. 23. Canﬁeld, B.S., Ballard, M.B., Osmon, B.C., & McCune, C. (2004). School and Family Counselors Work Together to Reduce Fighting at School. Professional School Counseling, 8(1), 40-46. 24. Winter, F.T., Preston, B. (Fall 2006). Functional Behavioral Assessment Based on Circle of Courage Needs. Reclaiming Children and youth, 15(3), 171-174. - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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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