Student Suspensions on the Rise in St. Paul Public Schools

Photo Via St. Paul Public Schools

St. Paul, MN – The number of student suspensions is once again on the rise in St. Paul Public Schools, reaching a five-year high.

The Pioneer Press summarizes the data, reporting, “Overall, St. Paul Public Schools suspended 5.8 percent of the district’s students at least once last school year, with double-digit suspension rates in middle-school grades.” The report also shows Blacks, American Indians, male students and those with disabilities were “far more likely to be suspended, continuing long standing disparities.”

District data shows more students are also being kicked out of school, with 21 percent more children being kicked out in 2015 than in the previous year. Out-of-school suspensions have risen in the last three consecutive years.  

The Pioneer Press reports black students were suspended 19 times more often than Asian-American students last year, and that suspension rates for white, Asian-American and Latino students “have declined by more than 20 percent in those five years. But for black students, the rate is down just 6 percent, and for American Indians, it’s up 42 percent.”

The St. Paul Public Schools system had a tough year in 2016 when it came to student discipline. The district has seen several student-teacher assaults in the last year, leading to confrontations with community groups like Black Lives Matter.  The district ended up having to promise to “stop calling the police to assist with disciplinary matters at the schools.”

The district is looking to address these disciplinary issues. As the Pioneer Press report explained, the district is starting a $4.5 million pilot project in six schools to address student-staff conflicts, and is taking several other steps to address the root of the problem.

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