Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

School expulsions decrease as teachers become more tolerant, pro-active

TAMPA — Judging by expulsion numbers, Hillsborough County's public schools are either getting safer or better at dealing with behavior problems.

A total of 628 students were recommended for expulsion or transfer in the last school year, according to the latest report to the School Board. That's down from 638 in 2010-2011 and shows a steady decline from 930 in 2007-2008.

"I think it's that principals are more sensitive to the need to keep students in school, where they will receive instruction," said Lewis Brinson, assistant superintendent for administration.

"Teachers are becoming more tolerant and more proactive."

Rates of expulsion cases varied greatly from school to school.

Greco and McLane led the middle schools with 27, followed by Eisenhower with 22 and Adams with 20, while some schools listed one or none at all.

Boys were three times more likely than girls to face expulsion or a transfer recommendation, according to the report. African-American students were disproportionately represented — a fact flagged by School Board members Susan Valdes and Doretha Edgecomb during a recent School Board meeting.

Chamberlain had the most cases among the high schools this year, as it did last year, with 20. Armwood was a close second with 17. The greatest number of cases — 49 — involved drugs and, as in the middle schools, males outnumbered females nearly three to one.

Only three children were recommended for expulsion or change of placement in the district's elementary schools.

As in years past, an assortment of weapons were used in these incidents.

In addition to seven gun cases and the 40 involving knives, there were incidents involving BB guns, brass knuckles, Tasers, stun guns and box cutters.

Only a fraction of these students — 14 — were actually expelled, according to the report, although some have cases that are still pending due to missed hearings.

The most common resolution was a transfer to another school. In fact, for the 133 in exceptional student education, a transfer was the only solution.

Edgecomb and Valdes, concerned about the preponderance of black male students in expulsion hearings, wondered if the district should take a closer look at that population.

Valdes suggested finding effective motivational speakers, while Edgecomb wondered if the schools need to pinpoint which students need extra study time.

Brinson, speaking after the meeting, was hesitant to generalize, as schools and communities vary.

"We need to ask ourselves, if it is an issue at the school site, in the neighborhood, or if the teacher needs some form of mentorship," he said.

"We need to look at each child in each school, and then look for patterns."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com.

School expulsions decrease as teachers become more tolerant, pro-active 08/18/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 18, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.