Report: Dropout, school crime rates drop

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 04:38 PM

 Statewide and in Union County the dropout rate, reportable acts of violence, short-term suspensions, long-term suspensions and expulsions all saw a decrease during the last school year. The numbers and statistics were presented to the state board of education last week.

In the 2010-2011 school year, 233 students dropped out for a rate of 2.02 per every 100 students. In the 2011-2012 school year, 201 students dropped out for a rate of 1.69 per every 100 students.

“Students learn best in an environment where they feel safe and supported, and students not in school are at greater risk for dropping out. It is gratifying to see these numbers continuing to decline and I encourage educators to continue their efforts to keep schools as safe as possible and to encourage positive student behavior," State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a statement. 

Of the 201 students who dropped out of Union County Public Schools, 111 were males, 90 were females, 118 were white, 47 were black, fewer than five were American Indian, 27 were Hispanic, fewer than five were Asian, fewer than five were Pacific Islander and eight were multiracial.

The state board of education defines a dropout as a "student who leaves school for any reason before graduation or completion of a program of studies without transferring to another elementary or secondary school.”

In school crime, there are 16 reportable acts, meaning crimes that must be reported to local law enforcement. Those crimes are possession of a controlled substance in violation of law, possession of a weapon, assault of school personnel, possession of alcoholic beverage, sexual assault not including rape or sexual offense, sexual offense, bomb threat, possession of a firearm of powerful explosive, assault resulting in serious injury, assault involving use of a weapon, burning of a school building, kidnapping, rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, taking indecent liberties with a minor and death by other than natural causes.

In the 2011-2012 school year, there were 208 reportable acts, making a rate of 18.70 per every 1,000 students. This compares with the 2010-2011 school year where there were 209 reportable acts, making a rate of 18.67 per every 1,000 students.

About 500 fewer students were given short-term suspensions in the past school year. A short-term suspension is defined as an out-of-school suspension lasting between one and 10 days.

In the 2010-2011 school year, 3,286 students were suspended, for a suspension rate of 24.82 per every 100 students. The number went down in the last school year, with 2,760 students being suspended making a rate of 24.82 per every 100 students. 

A long-term suspension is defined as any out-of-school suspension lasting longer than 11 days. In the 2011-2012 school year, 42 received received a long-term suspension.In the 2010-2011 school year, 89 students received long-term suspension. 

The number of expulsions rose slightly. In the 2010-2011 school year, no students were expelled. In the 2011-2012 school year, two students were expelled.

The report presented to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction breaks down short-term suspensions, long-term suspensions and expulsions by gender and ethnicity. 

In 2011-2012, black females received the most short-term suspensions with 585 and white males received the most short-term suspensions with 1,830. Black males received the most long-term suspensions with 12 and black females received the most long-term suspensions with five. 

Female Hispanic students received 248 short-term suspensions, white female students received 452 short-term suspensions and multiracial female students received 29 short-term suspensions. Female American Indian, Asian and other/missing students each received fewer than five short-term suspensions. All groups received fewer than five expulsions and apart from black female students, all groups received fewer than five long-term suspensions.

Black males received 1,589 short-term suspensions, 663 Hispanic male students received short-term suspensions, 92 male multiracial students received short-term suspensions, 16 Asian male students received short-term suspensions and 11 American Indian male students received short-term suspensions.

Fewer male students received long-term suspensions. Twelve black male students, 10 white male students and 10 Hispanic male students received long-term suspensions. All other ethnic groups received fewer than five. All groups received fewer than five expulsions.

In the 2010-2011 school year, black females and white males also received the most short-term suspensions. Black females had 686 short-term suspensions and white males received 2,066. 

White females received 571 short-term suspensions, Hispanic females received 190 short-term suspensions, multiracial females received 36 short-term suspensions and the group called other/missing received one. 

Black and white females received eight long-term suspensions. All other ethnic groups received fewer than five.

Among male students, white males received 2,066 short-term suspensions, black males received 1,800 short-term suspensions, Hispanic males received 571 short-term suspensions, multiracial males received 86 short-term suspensions, American Indian males received 36 short-term suspensions and Asian males received 16 short-term suspensions.

Black males received 43 long-term suspensions, white males received 24 long-term suspensions and all other groups received fewer than five.