Specifics on the MATHS suspensions
The city school system has provided me with more detailed information on the suspension rate at Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences (MATHS), the charter high school whose contract is up for renewal. Its 83 percent suspension rate last year prompted the school board to table its vote on the contract renewal last week.
In 2006-07, the school's first year of existence, its enrollment was 108. It suspended 12 students 24 times.
In 2007-08, the school enrolled 208 students. Eighty-two of them were suspended 173 times. Of the 173 suspensions, one was short-term, 164 were long-term and eight led to expulsions. Ninety-eight suspensions were for "disrespect/insubordination" and three were for attendance problems -- in other words, the nonviolent offenses for which Dr. Alonso has urged schools to find alternative, in-school punishments since his arrival a year and a half ago.
This school year, MATHS' enrollment is up to 352. So far, 62 students have been suspended 99 times. The suspension rate is lower because the enrollment is higher, but the number of incidents is on pace to meet or exceed last year. Again, the vast majority of suspensions are long-term. The number of suspensions for nonviolent offenses is down significantly, but the number of violent incidents is up. The school reports 42 suspensions for attacks, threats or fights so far this year, compared with 45 for all of last year. And it's reported five sex offenses so far this year, compared with two last year.
See below for a breakdown of suspensions by type of offense for last year and the current year so far.
Weapons: two last year, one this year
Dangerous substances: one last year, one this year
Attack/threats/fighting: 45 last year, 42 this year
Disrespect/insubordination: 98 last year, 28 this year
Attendance: 3 last year, none this year
Sex offenses: two last year, five this year
Other: 22 last year, 20 this year