Md. Student Suspensions Way Down After Change in State Policy

Washington County Schools’ number of out of school suspensions fell to an all time low last school year.

The number of out of school suspensions in at least one Maryland school district has dropped dramatically since the state recently changed its disciplinary policies.

Washington County Schools has seen its out of school suspensions nearly half since the 2011-2012 school year following changes made by the Maryland State Board of Education in 2014.

The state’s changes ended a zero tolerance policy that some argued disproportionately affected minority and special-education students, according to heraldmailmedia.com. Many school officials in Maryland spoke out against the changes, arguing disciplinary decisions should be made by the school alone.

Following the policy changes, last summer school officials in Washington County created their own disciplinary guidelines to fit the state regulations but give school administrators flexibility.

That’s when the district’s out of school suspensions fell to an all-time low of 562 last year, down from 1,133 in 2011-2012. The district has 46 total schools.

The state continues to monitor the effect of each district’s disciplinary process on minority students.

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