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Wharton High School leads Hillsborough in expulsion cases

Wharton High School [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Wharton High School [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Sep. 28, 2018

Given its difficult year, it's little surprise that Wharton High School led the Hillsborough County School District in expulsion cases, with 28 logged in 2017-18.

That's up from 17 in 2016-17, a year when only Freedom High School had more, with 23.

These are the detailed reports released recently by the school district, one in spreadsheet form, which break the cases down by race, offense and disposition.

Actual expulsions are very rare. In the year reported there were only two, one from Webb Middle and one from Blake High School, both involving loaded firearms. Students most often are transferred to an alternative school or setting.

Twenty of the 28 Wharton students, or 71 percent, were African American even though the school is only 31 percent black. Their cases covered a large variety of offenses, both on and off campus.

Two schools, Lennard High and Freedom High, were tied for the second-most expulsion cases with 20. Thirteen of the 20 at Freedom were for "battery on a peer."

Shields Middle School had more cases than any other in that age group with 19; Brandon High School also had 19.

Armwood and Middleton High School each had 18 expulsion or change of placement cases. At Middleton, 17 of the 18 students were black even though the student body is only 48 percent black.

The total number of cases was falling steadily in recent years, to a low of 278, as the district emphasized peer mediation and restorative practices to try and keep students in school.

Teachers complained about unruly classrooms and now that pendulum appears to be moving the other way. For 2017-18 there were 450 cases, or 394 when special education students were not included.