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.