Wake student suspensions declining, but still a concern
Posted June 4, 2013
Wake County, N.C. — The number of suspensions in the Wake County Public School System has declined in the past year, but it’s still high enough to sound the alarm for administrators, parents and students alike.
The groups began addressing the issue during a school board meeting Tuesday night, where talk turned to the role that police may be playing.
“These kids are getting arrested (in) dysfunctional numbers,” parent Racquel Williams said.
School board member Jim Martin recalled an incident he had with a school officer before he joined the board.
“I was threatened that I better be careful or I would get arrested,” he said.
The conversation was sparked by a recent water balloon prank at Enloe High School that ended in the arrest of seven students and a parent, Kevin Hines.
"For this to happen to me or any parent is egregious,” Hines told the board.
Several people who spoke during Tuesday’s meeting demanded change in how behavioral problems are handled and how minority students are being treated.
There were 14,626 suspensions in the last school year, marking a decrease from last year of about 18 percent in short-term suspensions and 30 percent in long-term suspensions, according to district figures.
Black students, who make up less than a quarter of the district population, received 8,802 of those suspensions.
White students, who make up nearly half of the student population, had 2,699 suspensions. And Hispanics, who comprise about 15 percent of the student population, had 2,307 suspensions.
School board Chairman Keith Sutton said the board needs to look at the feasibility of a moratorium on certain suspensions.