ROCKFORD — Suspensions in Rockford Public District 205 are at an eight-year low, according to recently charted student discipline data.
That data, school officials say, comes from the Illinois State Board of Education’s out-of-school suspension report that shows a nearly 65 percent decrease in the number of suspensions and a nearly 49 percent decrease in the number of students suspended.
The number of students suspended in 2008-09 was 5,626, with 18,690 incidents resulting in suspension. The number of students suspended in 2016-17 was 2,885, with 6,576 incidents resulting in suspension.
Breaking the figures down in terms of race, officials say the report shows that total number of students suspended dropped by 64 percent when comparing white students in 2009 vs. 2017; by 49 percent for Hispanic students and by 45 percent for black students.
Total infractions are also down, regardless of race, RPS 205 spokesmen said. The total number of infractions that resulted in suspension dropped by 72 percent when comparing white students in 2009 vs. 2017; by 67 percent for Hispanic students and by 64 percent for black students.
“Student discipline has been a point of discussion at the state and national level, and we want to be part of that narrative because we have good news to share,” Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg said. “Our data show we are excelling at improving the learning environment for our students. If you visit our schools, that reaffirms the data.”
Student discipline is assigned according to the Student Code of Conduct. The code is updated annually and outlines behavioral expectations and discipline policy in district. It is designed to clarify the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers, bus drivers and other school personnel. The district says the Student Code of Conduct is a progressive code, which means that lower-level infractions do result in suspension if they are repeated. The most common discipline infractions, districtwide, are skipping class, disobedience, and failure to attend assigned discipline.
“We have made our expectations for students very clear, and we follow through when there are infractions,” Vosberg said. “Our students continue to demonstrate that when they know the rules, they follow them.” R.