LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Guns, knives, drugs, and fights are some of the reasons why students in the Clark County School District are being expelled from school and expulsions are on the rise.
Data presented at Thursday’s Clark County School District Board of Trustees meeting showed expulsions during the 2022-2023 school year eclipsed the pre-pandemic high of the 2018-2019 school year.
“Things don’t happen in kindergarten, first, or second. But when you think about fourth and fifth grade. We’ve seen a substantial spike in some infractions. Violent infractions,” Dr. Mike Barton CCSD’s Chief College, Career, Equity, and School Choice Officer said.
Ebony Castro’s son began freshman year at Shadow Ridge High School a month ago and he’s already missed a week’s worth of classes.
“It is concerning to me because he’s been suspended twice for the same thing and nobody’s looked into it,” Castro said. Her son’s previous suspension came in middle school at the end of the 2022-2023 year.
Castro has issues with CCSD’s suspension policy. She says her 14-year-old son is being wrongfully punished for getting attacked on August 22.
“The video clearly showed him being picked up and body slammed and beat on by two people. And they said it was just a fight,” Castro said.
On Thursday, district leaders discussed getting a handle on the increase in suspensions and expulsions, with Dr. Barton acknowledging to Trustee Irene Bustamante-Adams that most of those infractions are done by boys and happening at the ninth-grade level.
“Over the last couple of years, some of those infractions are even going down into those earlier, younger grade levels that we’re seeing,” Barton said.
A PowerPoint presentation showed that expulsions in the 2022-2023 school year were at 1,434, while in 2018-2019 they were at 1,402.
CCSD automatically expels students for selling drugs, having a gun or knife, and committing battery or sexual assault.
Administrators can also expel students for violating CCSD’s code of conduct, which is labeled as discretionary expulsions. The numbers presented to trustees on Thursday were under the category of discretionary expulsions.
In the 2022-2023 school year there were 29,791 suspensions, about 500 short of eclipsing the 2018-2019 total, which was 30,282.
The district’s data also showed discrepancies in suspensions and expulsions. A majority of the students being disciplined are black, despite them making up less than a fifth of the student population.