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Data Show Overall Student Discipline Rates are Decreasing, but Gaps Persist

As part of a series examining key factors that relate to student success, OSPI released data analytics today on student discipline.

OLYMPIA — August 4, 2017 — The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) today released data analytics on student discipline in Washington state school districts.

The data show the 2015-16 school year saw decreases from the previous school year in the number of suspensions and expulsions statewide.

In the 2014-15 school year, the overall rate of suspensions and expulsions was 3.9 percent. In the 2015-16 school year, the rate dropped to 3.7 percent, which represents 1,804 fewer students being excluded from school. The largest decreases were in long-term suspensions and expulsions.

“Our discipline rates are decreasing, which we should celebrate,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “But that does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the gaps that persist – in fact, we should do quite the opposite.”

“In many school districts, students of color and students with disabilities appear to be suspended and expelled at a higher rate than their peers,” Superintendent Reykdal continued. “These trends are troubling and they warrant serious attention: We must analyze why disparities exist and determine what approaches may be most effective in addressing them.”

Data overview

The analytics show:

  • how many students were suspended or expelled, including discipline rates;
  • who was suspended or expelled, separated by student groups;
  • how long the students were removed from class; and
  • which behaviors students were disciplined for.
  • OSPI’s data analytics tool allows districts and the public to filter district demographics to view “like” districts, break out data by type of exclusion, and view student discipline rates at a rate proportionate to their representation in the total student population. Today’s release is part of OSPI’s “Performance Indicators – Data and Analytics” work designed to help the state and school districts make data-informed decisions. As new data analytics are released, they are posted on the OSPI Data and Analytics webpage.

    Next steps

    School districts must evaluate their discipline policies, procedures, and practices to ensure they are fair and applied equally to all students. All school districts and public charter schools are required to at least annually review data on student discipline within each school, separated by student groups.

    In reviewing this data, if a school district or public charter school finds that its discipline was disproportionate by student groups, they must take prompt action to ensure the disproportion is not the result of discrimination.

    With substantial stakeholder involvement, OSPI is in the process of carefully revising the student discipline rules, and the new rules are anticipated to be effective in the 2018-19 school year.

    OSPI is also currently developing training modules to support implementation of discipline policies and procedures. These are anticipated to be released in the 2017-18 school year.

    For more information

    OSPI is available to help schools and communities use data to recognize disparities, understand underlying equity and civil rights issues, and identify evidence-based practices that improve equity in student discipline.


    About OSPI
    The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.

    OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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    Nathan Olson
    Communications Manager
    (360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 8/4/2017

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