Nearly 60 percent of Texas middle and high school students have been suspended on campus, suspended off campus or expelled, that's according to a newly released study by the Council of State Governments.
"Frankly I was shocked about the numbers because if the kids aren't in a classroom then they're not learning," said LISD Assistant Superintendent Doyle Vogle.
The report also says that more than 30 percent of Texas seventh through 12th grade students received out of school suspension, averaging two days.
Deborah Fowler consulted on the report by the CSG and has authored similar reports through Texas Appleseed in the past. She said though the numbers are shocking, they vary drastically between schools, even those which are demographically similar.
"To us what is exciting about that finding in particular is that it means that schools have the ability to affect what happens with their students regarding discipline. It's not all determined according to what they're dealing with in terms of their demographic," Fowler said.
She said the report shows that traditional methods of discipline don't work and are not leading students to be better decision makers. However, other reports show that a school-wide positive behavioral intervention and support method really does work, she said.
"And it's schools that have implemented that approach in districts, even in Texas, that have seen a reduction in their disciplinary referrals by 50 to 70 percent. Not because they aren't referring students but simply because this model of discipline acts in a way that we could hope a disciplinary model would," Fowler said.
Vogler said out of nearly 15,000 Lubbock ISD middle and high school students, 4.26 percent have been expelled or subject to off-campus suspension. The number of students expelled or suspended, including in-school-suspensions, was not readily available.
He said this school year a new "level system" has been implemented which is intended to set a standard for all schools in the district in terms of misconduct.
"Level one offenses basically are those kind of offenses that occur in the classroom where a teacher takes care of those. It's not an actual referral to the office and therefore it doesn't require a PEIMS action code which is reportable to TEA, which is basically where all of these statistics came from," Vogler said.
Though the report is eye-opening, Vogler said it's composed of lagging data, and he questions the methods used to put it together.