Too Harsh? School District’s High Suspension Rate Prompts State Investigation.

A school district in Butte County is under investigation by the California Bureau of Children’s Justice because of its sky-high suspension rates, EdSource reports.

Schools in the Oroville City Elementary School District are suspending students at three times the average rate for California schools. That’s according to a recent report from the UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

According to the analysis, only three other districts saw more days missed per student due to suspensions. An EdSource investigation found that black students are being suspended at a disproportionate rate – “70 percent more often than their white peers.”

State investigators are now examining the district’s disciplinary policies, as well as “protections for foster and homeless youth,” according to a district statement. OCESD said it could not comment further on a pending investigation. It did say, however, that it has implemented a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support System, which emphasizes less authoritarian methods of discipline that value rewards and encouragement over punishment. The district will soon welcome an elementary school counselor and a social emotional learning teacher for the middle schools as well.

As EdSource notes, suspensions have been on the decline statewide since a 2014 law that prohibits suspensions for “willful defiance” in grades K-3.


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