Burbank Unified school district is falling in line with a growing state trend that has seen student suspensions decline over the past school year compared to the year prior, according to data released this week by state officials.

There were 246 fewer suspensions in Burbank schools in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, the most recent years for which extensive data is available.

While there were 948 suspensions across Burbank Unified in 2012-13, there were 1,194 the year before.

There were also five fewer expulsions during the last academic year, compared to the year prior when there were 16.

Statewide, expulsions decreased by about 12% from more than 9,700 in 2011-12 to about 8,500 in 2012-13. Suspensions dropped across California from 709,596 in 2011-12 to 609,471 in 2012-13.

Even with the statewide decrease in suspensions and expulsions, state officials found disparities among students.

While black students make up 6.3% of the state’s total enrollment, the group made up 16% of suspensions. Latino students make up more than 52% of total enrollment and nearly 55% of suspensions, according to state officials.

Meanwhile, white, non-Latino students make up 25.5% of total state enrollment, but were tied to nearly 21% of suspensions.

State Supt. Tom Torlakson said in a statement that this year marks the first time state officials have collected this level of data to compare from one year to the next, adding that the information will help school officials gauge their approach to discipline.

“It can be a challenge to find the balance between maintaining a safe learning environment and giving young people the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. But we’re working with schools and districts throughout the state to do exactly that,” Torlakson said in the statement.

“Although fewer students are being removed from the classroom in every demographic across the state, the rates remain troubling and show that educators and school communities have a long road ahead,” he added.

In Burbank, there were 436 suspensions of Latino students in 2012-13 compared to 564 the year before.

There were 380 suspensions of white, non-Latino students in 2012-13 compared to 488 the year prior.

Burbank High tallied 135 student suspensions compared to 139 the year before, while Burroughs High reported 83 suspensions compared to 109 the year prior.

Among Burbank middle schools, John Muir Middle School reported 93 student suspensions in 2012-13 followed by David Starr Jordan’s 68 suspensions and Luther Burbank’s 66.

Among elementary schools, William McKinley Elementary reported the most suspensions at 24, followed by Bret Harte Elementary with 21 suspensions.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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