Sunday, May 17, 2009

Suspensions drop after MCPS pushes alternatives - Gazette

But rates for black and Latino students remain the same

by Sebastian Montes | Staff Writer | Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Middle and high schools in Montgomery County are suspending less than half as many students as two years ago after a profound shift in philosophy toward early intervention, mediation and engaging problem behavior in the classroom, before the principal's office.

In fall 2006, 2,250 high school students were suspended for at least a half-day, according to Montgomery County Public Schools data; by fall 2008, the figure was cut in half, to 1,123. Middle schools saw an even sharper drop: suspensions fell from 1,684 to 622 over the same period.

The sharp decline has met a mixed reaction: parents and school leaders are encouraged to see that something is finally having an effect, but it raises questions of whether teachers are being burdened with too much.

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