North Coast's high suspension rate

NORTH Coast public schools gave 1282 students long suspensions in 2008 – a figure which was significantly higher per capita than the state average and almost as high as western Sydney.

As a percentage of enrolments, the suspended students account for 1.9 per cent of North Coast students, compared with the state figure of 1.4 per cent, or 14,405 long suspensions.

The figures, from the NSW Department of Education website, showed western Sydney suspended 1292 students, south-western Sydney 1880 and northern Sydney 3212.

The New England area, which suspended 606 students, was the highest area per capita at 2.8 per cent of its student population receiving the punishment.

In a breakdown of reasons for suspension, figures show 39 per cent of the North Coast suspensions were the result of physical violence, 45 per cent for persistent misbehaviour, six per cent for serious criminal behaviour related to the school, six per cent for use of a suspected illegal substance, with the remaining three per cent suspended for possession of a prohibited weapon, firearm or knife or use of an implement as a weapon.

Of the North Coast suspensions, the Clarence Valley had 149 long suspensions.

The figures count suspensions in primary and secondary schools and, consistent with statewide figures, have seen considerable growth in suspensions in recent years.

In all cases, the total number of suspensions is higher than the number of students suspended, indicating a proportion of students had been suspended more than once.

There were 45 expulsions on the North Coast in 2008.



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