Focus on the Figures: Suspensions in Large Counties

California’s Department of Education counts suspensions as incidents in which a student is temporarily barred from attending school (which excludes in-school suspensions).


In 2013, nearly 330,000 students were suspended (5.1 per every 100 students); another 8,200 students (0.1 percent of all public school students) were expelled in California.

Among the state’s largest counties, there was a great deal of variation. Sacramento schools suspended 7 percent of its students in 2013, twice the rate of the Los Angeles County schools. Orange County and Santa Clara County posted the lowest suspension rates, with 3.2 per 100.

Research on student engagement, academic success, dropout, and graduation rates has shown the need to replace exclusionary discipline practices, such as suspensions and expulsions, with alternatives that keep students in school and accountable.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education forged a joint school discipline initiative on the heels of “Breaking School’s Rules,” a major study of Texas school discipline that found 31 percent of students received an out-of-school suspension.

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