Student suspensions drop

blacks make up nearly half

October 29, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Suspensions in Howard County schools declined by 7 percent in the 2003-2004 school year, but a disproportionate number of incidents involved African-American pupils, according to a report presented to the school board yesterday.

The Suspension and Suspension Prevention Report showed that 2,677 students accounted for 3,026 suspensions reported.

Incidents at middle schools (1,255) decreased by 16 percent. Incidents at elementary schools (301) rose by 8 percent while those at high schools remained constant (1,470).

Nearly 47 percent of all suspensions involved African-American students. While African-American males represent 9.6 percent of the nearly 48,000 student population, 14 percent of them were suspended.

In comparison, 4.5 percent of white students, 34 percent of the population, were suspended.

"We know more work needs to be done," said Roger L. Plunkett, assistant superintendent for school administration. He said the school system is examining programs to counter the problem.

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