Index: Education / Subcategory: K-12

Disciplinary Actions

Date updated: 10/22/2012

Chart & Table Directory:

Disciplinary Actions Taken in Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

CHARTS

TABLES

School districts report suspensions and expulsions by the type of incident and by the race/ethnicity and gender of students involved. These data reflect the number of incidents and do not reflect an unduplicated count of students receiving disciplinary actions. A student may be suspended more than once in a school year, or may be suspended and later expelled (Colorado Department of Education). There are three types of suspension reported by school districts:

Expulsion from school is the most serious action taken. A student may be expelled for any length of time up to a maximum of one year. Some violations carry an automatic expulsion, such as bringing a firearm into school or drug distribution. Procedures for dealing with behaviors which incur disciplinary action and reporting requirements are part of state statute.

Colorado law requires that all children between the ages of seven and sixteen attend school. Therefore, an expelled student must have options during the time of expulsion such as alternative schools, home-schooling or private schools. Educational options are explained to expelled students and their parent/s or guardian/s. Options in school districts can vary from attending an independent partner school, receiving homebound education, or accessing classes online to maintain credits. Cost also varies for these options. Some districts partner in funding with independent institutions or cover the cost of other options through the district. However, if funding for educational options does not exist, the cost is the responsibility of the parent/s or guardian/s. If a student is expelled and is 16 or older, the district has no authority to keep the student in an educational system and the choice to continue is up to the student. For specific options and requirements in Larimer County, contact the individual school districts.

What this chart shows: Total Public School Suspensions and Expulsions in Larimer County School Districts, 2002-03 to 2011-12

Total Public School Suspensions and Expulsions in Larimer County School Districts, 2002-03 to 2011-12

Data Source: Colorado Department of Education

See data table

What the above data tell us:

State statutes were changed prior to the 2000-01 school year, adding incidents requiring disciplinary actions and changing reporting requirements. All schools began recording incidents by statutory category, resulting in more consistent recording and reporting. From the 2002-03 school year through the 2004-05 school year, suspensions and expulsions were relatively stable and varied less than 10% from year to year. During the 2005-06 school year, suspensions increased more than 24% and have remained at these higher levels ever since.

Expulsions, however, increased 50% in 2010-11, peaking at a 10-year high of 114, before returning more normal levels in 2011-12.

Some of the schools in the Poudre and Thompson School Districts instituted the State-sponsored Positive Behavior Intervention Support program during the 2006-07 school year. The purpose of this Initiative is to develop school-wide strategies to assist students in achieving needed social and learning outcomes and to prevent problem behaviors. Some officials hope, by instituting this project, they will have a better opportunity to track behavior patterns, perform analysis and look for solutions.

District officials have stated there is no single reason or action for fluctuations in the number of students being suspended or expelled in a given year.

Since the incidents at Columbine High School in 1999, Colorado school districts have moved toward implementation of 'zero tolerance' policies. These policies leave teachers little or no discretion in matters of discipline and have had an effect on the number of disciplinary actions taken since. Behaviors and actions by students that were once dealt with more moderately now command immediate disciplinary action such as suspension, expulsion and referral to law enforcement. For example, bringing a squirt gun to school is grounds for immediate expulsion, as it resembles a real firearm.

In 2012, Senate Bill 46 was signed into law, returning the setting of disciplinary policy to the school districts, which will allow for more flexibility.

What this chart shows: Suspensions and Expulsions as a Percentage of Actions Taken in Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

Suspensions and Expulsions as a Percentage of Actions Taken in Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

Data Source: Colorado Department of Education

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Out-of-school suspension was the predominant disciplinary action taken in all three school districts in 2011-12. Although Park School District had a higher percentage of expulsions (1.7%) than either Poudre or Thompson School Districts, this is due to the relatively smaller student body, since 3 students were expelled from Park, whereas 42 and 22 students were expelled from Poudre and Thompson School districts, respectively.

What this chart shows: Disciplinary Actions Taken Involving Male & Female Students by Race/Ethnicity - Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

Disciplinary Actions Taken Involving Male & Female Students by Race/Ethnicity - Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

Disciplinary Actions Taken Involving Male & Female Students by Race/Ethnicity - Larimer County School Districts, 2011-12

Data Source: Colorado Department of Education

See data table

What the above data tell us:

White students had the highest percentage of actions taken in 2011-12 (males 64% and females 59%), while Hispanic students had the second highest percentage (males 32% and females 37%). In overall district enrollment, White students represented 75% of the total enrollment with the next largest group being Hispanic students at just over 18%. Hispanics appear over represented in disciplinary actions, but school officials do not have a clear reason for this trend.

Zero Tolerance policies and changes in reporting may account for some of the variation. Also, as these data represent total actions and not unduplicated students, a handful of students getting into trouble several times during the school year would add to the overall figures. Data are tracked for reporting purposes but there is no detailed analysis of the data at this time.

Additional Information:

In Larimer County School Districts, breaking any law constitutes a Referral to Law Enforcement, but does not necessarily result in expulsion. Likewise, there are also actions that result in expulsion that do not constitute a referral to law enforcement. For example, 'Habitually Disruptive' is a category used when a student has committed three willful or overt harmful actions towards fellow students, the school or the community. These categories are part of a type of 'three strikes and you're out' classification which can lead to expulsion. However, these actions may not call for a referral to law enforcement. Possessing a firearm or any form of harmful weapon on school grounds is an example of something that would result in a referral to law enforcement and automatic expulsion.

If passed in the 2012 Colorado legislative session, Senate Bill 46 would return the setting of disciplinary policy to the school districts allowing for more flexibility.

Actions/Classifications That Can Lead to Expulsion - Larimer County School Districts

2011-12

Referred to Law Enforcement

Habitually Disruptive

School District

Number

% of All Actions/ Classifications

Number

Poudre

129

3.7%

1

Thompson

57

3.7%

0

Park

8

4.4%

0

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Industry Standards or Targets:

N/A

Data Tables:

Total Suspensions and Expulsions in Larimer County School Districts

School Year

Suspensions

Expulsions

2002-03

4,490 55

2003-04

4,817 45

2004-05

4,425 52

2005-06

5,490 71

2006-07

5,095 108

2007-08

5,224 78

2008-09

5,522 78

2009-10

5,189 76

2010-11

5,245 114

2011-12

4,854 67

See chart

Suspensions and Expulsions, Larimer County School Districts

2011-12

Classroom Suspension or Teacher Removal

In-School Suspension

Out-of-School Suspension

Expulsion

 

Other

Actions

Totals

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Number

Poudre

533 15.5% 1,239 36.0% 1,474 42.8% 42 1.2% 29 3,446

Thompson

217 14.0% 499 32.1% 745 48.0% 22 1.4% 13 1,553

Park

0 0.0% 53 29.4% 94 52.2% 3 1.7% 12 180

TOTALS:

750

----

1,791

----

2,303

----

67

----

54 5,179

See chart

Disciplinary Actions Taken by Race/Ethnicity

2011-12

MALE STUDENTS

All Disciplinary Actions

Larimer County School Districts

Number

% of Total Actions

Asian

23 0.6%

Black

129 3.4%

Hispanic

1,206 31.5%

American Indian

19 0.5%

White

2,447 64.0%

TOTAL:

3,824 100.0%

2011-12

FEMALE STUDENTS

All Disciplinary Actions

Larimer County School Districts

Number

% of Total Actions

Asian

13 1.1%

Black

15 1.2%

Hispanic

453 37.2%

American Indian

20 1.6%

White

717 58.9%

TOTAL:

1,218 100.0%

See chart