Do schools in Wake issue long-term suspensions for students more quickly than they should?
As noted in today's article, that's a concern raised by some groups as Wake has one of the higher long-term suspension rates in the state. It's more of an issue now that Wake is proposing to eliminate the alternative programs for long-term suspended students in favor of offering them online courses from home.
At 8.3 long-term suspensions per 1,000 students, Wake had the 10th highest rate in the state last school year. In contrast, Durham's rate was 2.7 long-term suspensions per 1,000 students.
"Durham has just decided not to suspend so many kids," said Jane Wettach, director of Duke Law School's Children's Law Clinic.
In addition to the number of long-term suspensions, Wettach and Charlotte Turpin, president of the Harriet B. Webster Task Force for Student Success, questioned their length.
The state defines a long-term suspension as anything that lasts for 11 days or longer. Wake goes further by saying that they'll run the rest of the school year.
Wettach said too many students are being suspended for the rest of the year due to fighting.
"These are not hardened criminals," Wettach said. "They made minor mistakes."
Turpin said that, short of egregious offenses, Wake should reduce long-term suspensions to a shorter amount, such as for a month.
The Harret B. Webster Task Force is one of the groups that would lose funding to provide services to long-term suspended students.