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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Suspension numbers misleading

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A recent report provided by the Indiana Dept. of Education showed disturbing numbers for some schools within the Clay Community School Corporation.

However, those numbers are somewhat misleading.

According to recent information provided by the Dept. of Education, North Clay Middle School witnessed more than 1,400 suspensions during the 2005-06 school year.

However, according to NCMS Principal Jeff Allen, the numbers are not quite accurate.

On Monday, Allen told The Brazil Times that nearly 1,100 of those numbers were in-school suspensions and did not indicate out-of-school suspensions only.

"We are reporting every suspension, in-school and out-of-school," Allen said.

A quick glance at the numbers would make one wonder what is going on within county school buildings.

For example, according to the study, North Clay had 640 suspensions for defiance in 2005-06 and 612 suspensions for "other causes."

Allen said the corporation delivers the state complete numbers for suspensions, whether they are in-school or out-of-school. That is why, according to Allen, the numbers are so much larger than other schools in the surrounding area.

For example, Chauncey Rose Middle School in Vigo County calculated 154 suspensions for the 2005-06 school year while Cloverdale Elementary School in Putnam County reported just 132.

Allen said that not all schools statewide turned in all the information that Clay Community did. However, he said he believed that schools would be required to do so in the future.

According to the recent information, Northview High School reported 565 suspensions in 2005-06 while Clay City Junior-Senior High School reported 85. In addition, Clay City Elementary reported 21, while Van Buren Elementary tallied four, and Meridian Street Elementary had five. East Side Elementary, Staunton Elementary, Forest Park Elementary and Jackson Township Elementary reported no suspensions for the study.

North Clay's total was 1,447.

The totals were set into more than 15 categories, including alcohol, attendance, battery, defiance, destruction of property, drugs, fighting, intimidation, handguns, rifles and shotguns, other firearms, other weapons, tobacco, verbal aggression, legal settlement and other causes.

According to the study, North Clay handed out 57 suspensions for attendance in 2005-06 in addition to two for battery. The school also handed out 640 for defiance, two for destruction of property, six for drugs, 62 for fighting, five for intimidation, one for rifles and shotguns, one for other firearms, 59 for verbal aggression and 612 for other causes.

Allen said that students who receive in-school suspensions continue with their education despite the suspension.

"Students are dealt with fairly and consistently," Allen said. "This is an extremely difficult age in life."

CCSC Supt. Dan Schroeder agreed, saying that students in that age group tend to see more suspensions.

"We take suspensions very seriously," Schroeder said. "That is something we don't take lightly.

"We don't want kids interrupting the classroom. Parents demand that we have a controlled environment."

However, Schroeder said that he believes school suspensions have increased.

"It's a problem, " Schroeder said. "But in this day and age, I think suspensions will be up."

CCSC Board President Terry Barr said regardless of the numbers, suspensions at any level are a problem.

"It's a major concern for me," the five-year board member said. "But I believe it has gotten better. Everybody's kind of hopeful this year."

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