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Safer Schools, Fewer Suspensions

March 2, 2020—The state Department of Public Instruction’s Annual Consolidated Data Report shows that Durham Public Schools is moving in the right direction, with fewer students being suspended, fewer system-wide acts of crime and violence occurring, and fewer students dropping out of school.

Short-term suspensions dropped dramatically from 2017-18 to 2018-19, from 5996 to 3852. Long-term suspensions fell as well, from 64 to 46. Acts of crime and violence plummeted by more than 23 percent, from 412 acts in 2017-18 to 316 acts in 2018-19. No school was at risk of being labeled “persistently dangerous” by the state. DPS’s dropout rate also declined for the second year in a row.

Priority 2 of the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan for Durham Public Schools focuses on providing a safe school environment that supports the whole child. Strategies that DPS is employing to support students’ socio-emotional health and safety include implementing strong cultural frameworks in each school, such as:

  • Restorative practices
  • Culturally responsive teaching
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Reducing implicit bias and racial inequities
  • De-escalation and crisis prevention/intervention

“We are doing pioneering work in equity and restorative practices in our schools,” said DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. “That work is hardly complete, but the results show that we are continuing in the right direction. DPS students are learning and growing in a safer, more supportive environment.

Updated 6:47 PM, March 2, 2020