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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005

Indicator 19:
Serious Disciplinary Actions Taken by Public Schools

About 54 percent of public schools took a serious disciplinary action against a student in the 1999-2000 school year. Of those disciplinary actions, 83 percent were suspensions lasting 5 days or more, 11 percent were removals with no services (i.e., expulsions), and 7 percent were transfers to specialized schools.

Removal of a student by a school for behavior problems stemming from crime and violence has serious impact on student instruction. In the School Survey on Crime and Safety, public school principals were asked to report the number of disciplinary actions taken against students during the 1999-2000 school year for specific offenses unrelated to academic infractions.

About 54 percent of public schools took at least one serious disciplinary action against a student, including suspensions lasting 5 days or more, removals with no services (i.e., expulsions), and transfers to specialized schools, for any offense that occurred in the 1999-2000 school year (table 19.1). Altogether, about 1,163,000 actions were taken. Of those serious disciplinary actions, 83 percent were suspensions for 5 days or more, 11 percent were removals with no services, and 7 percent were transfers to specialized schools (figure 19.1 and table 19.1).

Two percent of all public schools took one or more serious disciplinary actions in response to students' use of a firearm or explosive device, and 4 percent did so for the possession of such a device (figure 19.2 and table 19.1). Use of weapons other than firearms resulted in at least one serious disciplinary action in 5 percent of schools, while possession of weapons other than firearms led to a serious disciplinary action in 19 percent of schools.

Ten percent of all public schools took one or more serious disciplinary actions for the distribution of illegal drugs, and 20 percent for the possession or use of illegal drugs or alcohol. In 1999-2000, public schools took serious disciplinary actions for offenses such as fights (35 percent), threats (22 percent), insubordination (18 percent), and other nonacademic infractions (14 percent).

Figure 19.1. Percentage distribution of serious disciplinary actions taken by public schools, by type of action: 1999-2000

Percentage distribution of serious disciplinary actions taken by public schools, by type of action: 1999-2000

1 A specialized school was defined for respondents as “a school that is specifically for students who were referred for disciplinary reasons. The school may also have students who were referred for other reasons. The school may be at the same location as respondent’s school.”
NOTE: Either school principals or the person most knowledgeable about discipline issues at school completed the SSOCS questionnaire. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000.
Figure 19.2. Percentage of public schools that took a serious disciplinary action for selected offenses, by type of offense: 1999-2000

Percentage of public schools that took a serious disciplinary action for selected offenses, by type of offense: 1999-2000

1 Physical attacks or fights were defined for respondents as “an actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against his or her will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual.”
2 Insubordination was defined for respondents as “a deliberate and inexcusable defiance of or refusal to obey a school rule, authority, or a reasonable order.” It includes but is not limited to “direct defiance of school authority, failure to attend assigned detention or on-campus supervision, failure to respond to a call slip, and physical or verbal intimidation/abuse.”
3 Intimidation was defined for respondents as “to frighten, compel, or deter by actual or implied threats.” It includes bullying and sexual harassment.
4 A firearm or explosive device was defined for respondents as “any weapon that is designed to (or may readily be converted to) expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. This includes guns, bombs, grenades, mines, rockets, missiles, pipe bombs, or similar devices designed to explode and capable of causing bodily harm or property damage.”
NOTE: Either school principals or the person most knowledgeable about discipline issues at school completed the SSOCS questionnaire. Serious disciplinary action includes suspensions lasting 5 days or more, removals with no services (i.e. expulsions), and transfers to specialized schools.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000.
View Table 19.1 View Table 19.1


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