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Education

Report Says 60 Percent of Texas Students Expelled or Suspended

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Photo by KUT News
A report released this morning looks at the number of school suspensions and expulsions in Texas

Almost 60 percent of middle and high school students in Texas have been suspended or expelled.  That’s according to a new report out today by the Council of State Governments and researchers at Texas A&M University. 

The study looked at state data on almost 1 million Texas public school students over six years.

The report also found that:

  • 15 percent of students were suspended or expelled 11 times or more.
  • African Americans and students with educational disabilities were more likely to be disciplined.
  • Three percent of disciplinary actions were for infractions that state law required a suspension or expulsion.
  • Students who were repeatedly expelled or suspended were less likely to graduate high school or more likely to fail their grade.

But the Texas Education Agency says the 60 percent number could be misleading to parents, because it groups students who were handed in-school suspensions with those who faced more serious disciplinary action.
“I do think it exaggerates the situation by lumping kids that were excessively tardy to class into the same count as a kid who committed some kind of bodily injury on someone and was sent to a juvenile justice situation," TEA spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe told KUT News.

Nevertheless, the report is prompting concern among some state leaders.  In its press release, the Council of State Governments got reaction from State Senator Florence Shapiro. She said, "The data suggests that individual school campuses often have a pronounced influence over how often students are suspended or expelled.”

The Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Wallace Jefferson, also quoted in their press release, questions whether school officials are "best suited to discipline kids who commit minor infractions.”

Chief Justice Jefferson is convening a meeting in Austin today to discuss the report’s findings.