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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: MARCH 5, 2009


The rate of school crime and violence in North Carolina increased slightly in 2007-08 along with long-term student suspensions and expulsions. At the same time, short-term suspensions and the annual dropout rate declined in the state, according to the 2007-08 Consolidated Data Report presented today to the State Board of Education. This marks the first time that all of these related data were assembled and reported at once.

While there were few statewide patterns concerning school district performance in all three areas, the report noted that ninth grade males are the group at highest risk for dropping out, being suspended or expelled and for committing acts of crime or violence at school.

Yadkin County was the only school district to have low rates for all three measures. Five school districts - Clay County, Mount Airy City, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City, Elkin City and Cherokee County - were on two of the three top 10 lists in terms of districts with the best performance in all three reporting areas.

"We know that there often is a relationship between crime and violence incidents, suspensions and expulsions and high school dropouts," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "By consolidating the reports that look at each area, we hope that we can better understand how to efficiently address student needs and help more students stay in school and be successful. It is important for all education leaders to examine our policies to be sure none of them have the unintended consequence of encouraging students to drop out."

School districts with positive performance in the three areas report using a variety of approaches to help improve student behavior and prevent dropouts. These include ninth grade academies, Positive Behavior Support, credit recovery programs, alternative programs and schools, early college and high school/college dual enrollment opportunities and better use of data to adjust school strategies.

Crime and Violence Statistics
The total number of acts of crime and violence increased from 11,013 in 2006-07 to 11,276, a 1 percent increase. The rate per 1,000 students went from 7.77 in 2006-07 to 7.85 in 2007-08. Violent crimes continued to be a small part of the overall numbers – representing only 3.8 percent of all the reported school crimes. The total number of violent crimes actually decreased by 3.6 percent.

As in most years, three possession-related crimes were the most frequent acts. These are possession of a controlled substance, possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives and possession of an alcoholic beverage. These three acts made up 85 percent of all reported acts.

Suspensions and Expulsions
Data on student suspensions – both short- and long-term – and student expulsions also were reported. This information shows that short-term suspensions declined from 310,744 to 308,010 from 2006-07 to 2007-08. Nonetheless, on average, one in 10 students receives a short-term suspension each year, but some students receive more than one short-term suspension. The typical student who experienced a suspension missed 5.91 days of school for that reason. The average duration for each short-term suspension was 2.99 days.

Long-term suspensions, which last 11 days or more, increased last year. A total of 5,225 long-term suspensions were given to students during the last school year, up from 4,736 in 2006-07. The average number of school days per suspension went down, however, from 54 to 41.4.

Expulsions, which are the most severe consequence for student discipline problems, increased in 2007-08 from 102 to 116. Ninety-nine of these were for high school students.

Alternative schools or programs reported a total of 15,769 student placements in 2007-08, representing 14,414 individual students. The number of placements decreased from 2006-07.

Dropout Data
North Carolina high schools reported that 4.97 percent of students dropped out of school during the 2007-08 academic year, according to the 2007-08 Dropout Report which was originally presented to the State Board of Education in February. This means that 1,116 fewer students across North Carolina decided to drop out in 2007-08 than in the previous year. Overall, 22,434 students out of approximately 450,000 North Carolina high school students dropped out of school in 2007-08.

This marks the first decrease in the state's rate since 2004-05.
The rate in 2006-07 was 5.24 percent.

For more information about the Consolidated Report, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

Consolidated Data Report, 2007-08
(doc, 4.5mb)

Crime & Violence Table C-6 2007-08

Consolidated Presentation
(ppt, 3.6mb)


About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.