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Cumberland County's 3 Strikes Rule Seems to be Working

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FAYETTEVILLE — This year Cumberland County Schools suspended 77 percent more students than last year. While that figure might at first seem alarming, it's exactly what school leaders were hoping for when they implemented what's known as the "Three Strikes Rule".

Students who violate the student code three times are given long term suspensions or the option to attend an alternative school. Teachers and students say that with violators out of the classroom, students who remain have a better learning environment.

As the school year winds down at Westover High School, the classroom composition is different. Some students who were there at the start of the school year are now at an alternative school. They were not allowed back at Westover because of the three strikes policy.

"Everybody is more positive with a positive attitude," says student Syreeta Daniels. "There hasn't been so much violence and disruptions, everybody is really focused on doing what they have to do."

Students ore focused because in the 1996-97 school year, 598 students were suspended long term. This year, that number jumped to 1,060. Of those, 47 percent were suspended on three strike violations .

"Teachers and administrators have been frustrated in the past that they didn't have a mechanism to remove kids that were constantly disrupting but weren't doing something serious enough under the old code of conduct," said security supervisor Chip Grammer.

Before three strikes, some principals would suspend students for repeated violations while others would let violations mount.

Administrators say the classrooms are more orderly now. Teachers and students agree.

The three strikes policy has also worked as a deterrent. Many students know they could be permanently banned from their schools.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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