Gwinnett County Public Schools: Discipline panels up slightly
Numbers an increase from this time last year

SUWANEE - The number of Gwinnett County Public Schools students sent before a disciplinary panel during the second quarter of the school year increased slightly from the same period last year, an administrator told school board members last week.

However, there was a significant decrease in the number of middle and high schoolers who served in-school suspension, Executive Director of Academic Support Jim Taylor said during a report Thursday to the Gwinnett County Board of Education.

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, 587 students appeared before a disciplinary panel, 36 more than the second quarter of the 2007-08 school year, Taylor said.

"From a statistical standpoint, that increase is not significant," Taylor said, adding the increase is consistent with the growth in student enrollment.

The estimated number of panels per 1,000 students was 3.7, up .2 from a year ago.

Students who violate major rules or misbehave repeatedly are sent before a hearing officer or disciplinary panel for appropriate consequences, Taylor said. The greatest number of infractions continue to involve "student-on-student altercations," he said.

The number of in-school suspensions dropped by 1,924, with 8,829 during this year's second quarter, Taylor said. That's about 55.8 per 1,000 students, compared to 69.1 a year ago.

Schools are encouraged to keep students in school and engaged in classroom instruction, as long as the student's behavior does not disrupt the teaching and learning process, Taylor said.

The school system's disciplinary report also shows the number of out-of-school suspensions remained about the same, with 5,691 reported during this year's second quarter. That's an increase of 10 from last year.

"The administration continues to enforce firm but fair disciplinary practices that preserve the safe learning environment in our schools," Taylor wrote in a report summary. "The information in this second quarter report ... gives supportive evidence that Gwinnett County Public Schools is committed to protecting the school environment for the sake of students who value learning."