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Wharton High School again leads Hillsborough in students removed

The most common reason: Disruptions on campus
Wharton High School in New Tampa has led the Hillsborough district for two consecutive years in students who were transferred out for behavior infractions. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Jul. 9
Updated Jul. 14

For the second year in a row, Wharton High School led the Hillsborough district in change of placement cases in 2018-2019.

No other school came anywhere close to the 40 incidents at Wharton, which spent the last year under the leadership of a new principal.

This and many other discipline statistics were shared with the School Board when it met June 25 to discuss student discipline trends and practices. While the district does not post these numbers, they are a matter of public record and Times readers can find them here, broken down by school, offense, race, gender and ultimate placement.

There were a total of 517. More than half the students involved - 261 - were black, even though that demographic group amounts for only about 21 percent of the population. Of the rest, 141 were Hispanic and 91 were white. Hispanic and white students, as groups, each comprise about a third of student enrollment.

The largest number of cases - 100 - were labeled “Code 81, off-campus, non-school related.” That means the student was arrested on a serious violent felony charge outside school.

The Wharton statistics compare to 28 in 2019 and 17 the year before.

Thirty one of the students in this year’s Wharton group were black. Thirty-two were male. The most common reason for their changes of placement was a major disruption on campus. The greatest number - 27 - were place in EPIC3, an alternative school.

Wharton, New Tampa’s original high school, draws from as far south as Busch Boulevard and as far north as the Pasco County line. The school loses some of its strongest students to the International Baccalaurate program at King High School and to magnets Middleton and Tampa Bay Tech. Another 140 who were zoned for Wharton attended the Brooks DeBartolo charter school in 2018-19.

This year there will be even more competition, with the elite charter, Kiran Patel High School preparing to open near Thonotosassa.

In years past, this was called the “Expulsion and Change of Placement” report.

But students are very rarely expelled outright. Instead, they are nearly always transferred to some type of alternative school, sometimes temporarily until they are reading to return to either their original school or another school.

This year there were no expulsions at all.

“Expulsions are the absolute last resort,” said Chief of Schools Harrison Peters. “We feel strongly about providing educational services to all children. In extreme cases, we still try to find other options in lieu of complete expulsion because that means a student cannot attend any school. We feel strongly in our commitment to all students.”




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