Suspension rates on a steady decline

Brian Chang , Asst. News Editor


All actions have consequences, and whether they are good or bad depends on the action. At the high school level, suspensions and expulsions are usually the forms of punishment reserved for the most severe transgressions. At Diamond Bar High School, the overall suspension rate is decreasing, according to data from the California Department of Education.

From 2011 to 2014, DBHS has had a total of zero expulsions and 333 suspensions. In 2011, the suspension rate was 3.9 percent, a number which dropped to 3.8 percent in 2012, 3.7 percent in 2013, and eventually to 3.2 percent in 2014.

However, starting from the 2012-2013 school year, DBHS’ average suspension rate was higher than the Los Angeles Unified School District’s 3.5 percent suspension rate. Despite the suspension rate at DBHS decreasing year after year, LAUSD’s suspension rate seems to be dropping even faster. Assistant principal John Terry said that the number may be a result of different policies regarding suspensions in LAUSD compared to that of DBHS.

“Districts differ as far as how they handle certain things, so for example, I think in LA Unified you can only suspend for certain things and other things you can’t…but I would have to take a look at [the data],” Terry said.

Terry is the administrator at DBHS who handles punishments for students. After an incident, Grade Level Coordinators investigate the situation. Then, the GLC summarizes the information they found and present it to Terry, who listens to the student’s perspective. Parents are only informed of the final decision, not the whole process.

“Because of the good relationships between our GLCs and students, nine times out of ten the stories match,” Terry said. “‘Okay, I agree,’ or ‘I believe this number of days can give the outcome that we want.’ At that point, parents are contacted.”

Some infringements of the school’s safety policy warrant an automatic suspension, such as bringing weapons to school, engaging in fights, or selling drugs or alcohol on campus. Despite this, Terry still goes through the process before coming to a final decision.

“Nobody is automatically suspended. Everybody has their ability to have due process,” Terry said. “Obviously the end goal is for the students to cease the behavior. If it’s a suspension, the GLC works with the teachers so students don’t get so far behind; that’s important to us.”