School Bus
School bus in San Diego County. Photo credit: Wiki Commons

Fewer San Diego County students were suspended or expelled in the last school year than the year before, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.

The drop mirrors a decline in the statewide totals.

Within the county, 18,266 students — 3.4 percent — were suspended in the 2013-14 school year, according to CDE data, and 482 — 0.1 percent — were expelled.

The year before, more than 22,000 students — 4.1 percent — were suspended and over 680 — 0.1 percent — were expelled.

The San Diego Unified School District — the county’s largest — suspended 4.2 percent of its students in the 2013-14 academic year. The highest local suspension rates were 6.5 percent, shared by the Fallbrook Union High School District and Santee School District.

Statewide, the suspension rate was 4.4 percent and the expulsion rate was 0.1 percent.

The new figures come at a time when department officials are working with districts around the state to implement innovative programs that reduce suspensions and expulsions.

“These numbers show that the work of the department, districts, teachers, parents and students around the state is paying off by keeping more students in school and learning,” said Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction.

“You can have the best facilities, the best teachers, and the best curriculum in the world, but none of that matters if students are not in school,” Torlakson said. “That’s why we have put so much effort into increasing school attendance and reducing expulsions and suspensions and will continue to do so.”

City News Service