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Report: Greene County Schools has highest suspension rate in NC - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Report: Greene County Schools has highest suspension rate in NC

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SNOW HILL, N.C. - A new report from the state Board of Education shines the light on a problem in Greene County.
    
State officials say schools there had more suspensions than they have total students. And that's a problem.

Why's the number so high? And what are administrators doing to turn it around?
    
After school detention, it sounds like an old school way of punishment. Yet that's what Greene Central High School implemented to help bring down the state's highest suspension rate.

"What they do in it is pretty unique. They do community service activities in lieu of being suspended,” explained Patrick Greene, principal. “They're still here all day. They serve their punishment after school."

According to a report, put out annually by the state Board of Education's Department of Public Instruction, for the 2012 to 2013 school year, Greene County Schools had 101 suspensions for every 100 students. The number is alarmingly high, but it doesn't mean every student got suspended. The number reflects how many suspensions were given out total. The number given out in Greene County far surpassed every district in the east.

"State law opens it up to a lot of different things but anything from a major class disruption to profanity, all the way to a fight and anything in between," said Greene.

Principal Greene says depending on the severity, the student can receive one to ten days of suspension…

"We used to have a dress code here, which really led to suspensions,” said Travonte Ham, senior. “Let's say if students wore a little horse on their shirt, they would be suspended."

Administrators partnered with the student government association to change the dress code, improve relationships with teachers and come up with alternatives to suspension. They say it's making a difference.

"Certainly they can learn more and perform at a higher level if they're in school and we want them to be in school and the parents want them to be in school," said Dr. Patrick Miller, Superintendent, Greene Public Schools.

Despite a high suspension rate, the report shows a very low drop-out rate. What was once was one of the state's highest, is now one of the state's lowest. So far this year, student suspensions have decreased significantly.

"Just close to 40% of students last year had one suspension for something at some point last year,” said Miller. “This year, we're down to 19%."

It’s a trend students and administrators hope to carry on.

The latest data shows the school's graduation rate is 5-percent higher than the national average.
    
Principal Greene says there are 208 students eligible to graduate this year. The ceremony is on June 14.


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