As in previous years, disproportionalities existed among black, Indigenous and low-income students who were suspended or expelled. The district has previously said it is working to narrow these gaps as part of the LPS board’s four equity goals.
Some figures in the disciplinary data went against previous trends. For example, the school suspension rate for black students appears to be less disproportionate, especially at the high school level.
But the impact of COVID-19 in 2020-21 makes any conclusions premature, said Leslie Eastman, director of assessment and evaluation of the LPS.
The bottom line: there were simply fewer children in schools last year.
“It’s a little hard to tell if this is an anomaly or if it’s the start of a new trend,” Eastman said.
And officials said next year’s data may reflect another atypical year. Students return to in-person learning with more socio-emotional and academic needs, said Russ Uhing, director of student services. Teachers are also strained by labor shortages and problems in filling replacement positions.
That, in turn, could lead to more disciplinary issues this year.
“What we are seeing are kids with higher anxiety levels. We are seeing students who have less problem solving skills, and therefore things that they were able to solve now, may get worse. -be a little more, ”Uhing said.