Archive for Tuesday, June 27, 2006

District analyzes suspension numbers

Board meeting hears report, interprets data

June 27, 2006


Some students cause more trouble than others.

Last year, 230 students accounted for Lawrence school district's 1,367 in- and out-of-school junior high suspensions; 210 high schoolers accounted for the 808 suspensions.

The district's suspension numbers appear to be near or below the state averages.

"That's the good news," said deputy Supt. Bruce Passman, addressing a Monday meeting of the Lawrence school board.

The bad news, he said, was that the district's suspension numbers have increased each of the last three years.

In 2005-06, the district recorded dramatic - and as yet unexplained - increases in junior high suspensions due to violence and in high school suspensions linked with "skipping" and being caught with alcohol and drugs.

"The trends are difficult to identify," Passman said, noting that he and the schools' principals are looking for ways to hold students responsible for their actions that may not involve suspensions.

"That can be a real challenge," he said.

According to district data for 2001 to 2006, the top five reasons for in- and out-of-school suspension on junior-high level: refusing directions, creating a disturbance, skipping, profanity and violence.

On the high school level: skipping, drugs and alcohol, open defiance, refusing directions and profanity.

Board members offered differing interpretations of the data but did not recommend reforms.

Responding to a question from board member Sue Morgan, Passman noted that 175 high school students had taken part in the district's "alternative suspension program," which lets them serve their out-of-school suspensions at a neutral site.

"We don't want them running around downtown," added Supt. Randy Weseman. "This gives us and the student an alternative. It takes a lot of supervision, but it's a great program. Plus - because of the way the special ed laws are - there are some kids you can't suspend. You have to have an alternative."

Other board action Monday:

l Board member Leonard Ortiz was commended for completing a one-year term as board president.

"Unless you've done it, you can't appreciate how much work goes into being board president," said Weseman.

Ortiz will be succeeded by Morgan. Board member Linda Robinson will succeed Morgan as vice president.

l Two new elementary school principals - Jeanne Fridell at Woodlawn and Jason Jones at Sunflower - were introduced to the board. Former art teacher Lisa Clipsham will be assistant principal at Central Junior High.

l The district's milk contract for the 2006-07 school year was awarded to Roberts Dairy. The company underbid Anderson Erickson Dairy by $9,159.

In keeping with the district's new wellness policy, students will be served 1 percent or skim milk.

l Lunch prices for next year were raised a nickel; breakfast prices went up a dime for students, but they remained the same for staff and faculty.


classclown 11 years, 11 months ago

I'll bet it's kids from Topeka and K.C. Enough is enough. Shut those schools down!

Hawkman 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow...enforcer...are you having another bitter day? Whoops, every day is one of those for you, isnt it. From what I hear things are much better at Central and KIDS ARE ACTUALLY LEARNING!! They may not be teaching how fast to come down 9th street but that should be a parent's job. Don't you think??

NorthLawrenceDude 11 years, 11 months ago

When does Linda Robinson get to be board president? I think she would do a terrific job.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

beat em all just beat em :) giving our schools a bad name, ban student.

hockmano 11 years, 11 months ago

The problem is that back in the day you had to do something really bad before your received a suspension. Like striking another student, or some other serious act. But now, and I know this from personal experience with my own children, they are being suspended for laughing when they aren't supposed to, not following directions, acting silly etc. I asked the counselor, why not just separate these students until they calm down. She said, "And who is going to pay somebody to watch them?"Excuse me, but I thought that was their job!Yes, the parents are responsible for their own child's behavior but come on. Usually the kids who are getting into trouble are the ones that really need help getting a proper education so throwing them out of school everytime they do something wrong isn't helping! The entire school board needs a good looking at if you ask me!

hockmano 11 years, 11 months ago

Some students do cause more trouble. But some kids are also pegged for trouble. Once you get into trouble they immediately keep an eye on your every move waiting for you to do the most minute thing. My children were basically harassed to the point where I had to bring up the "L" word. Lawsuit! They were disciplined while others got a slap on the wrist! Even though they had never been in trouble with the law, they were pegged as troublemakers while others that were harassing them were running around town committing crimes and going to jail or juvenile detention!So, yes, my four children probably account for a good number of those suspensions from last year but I could not be more proud of them! Two of them graduated this year and are going to college and leave this school district in their dust. The other two are the ones I am worried about. I want to home school them but they both really want to go to school? I have a 2 year old and he will be going to some private school far away from the unbiased eyes of USD497.

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