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New study shows students safer, staying in school longer

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New study shows public school students are safer and staying in school longer (WTVD)

There are some positive signs being revealed about North Carolina schools and the more than 1.5 million students who attend public institutions in our state, according to a new study.

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Newly-released numbers show crime decreasing at public schools in the Tar Heel state and the number of short-term suspensions increasing while the dropout rate improved slightly.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction's 2015-16 Consolidated Data Report, reportable acts of school crime decreased 3.2 percent from 2014-2015.

The most frequently reported offenses involved assault on school personnel, possession of illegal controlled substances, alcohol and weapons, except firearms and explosives. 79 percent of all schools reported five or fewer acts of crime. Four districts reported no acts.

    Key Findings from the data report:

  • Dropout rate decreases to 2.29 percent from 2.39 percent in 2014-2015

  • Reportable acts of school crime decreased 3.2 percent

  • Short-term suspensions-Increased by 4 percent

  • Long-term suspensions-Decreased by 4.5 percent

  • Expulsions-Decreased by 35.7 percent

  • Corporal punishment-Decreased by 50.3 percent

In a statement, State Board Chairman Bill Cobey said he was glad that school crime and violence acts and the disciplinary consequences for such acts decreased last year for the most part.

"Schools must be safe havens if we want our teachers to be effective and our students to excel academically," he said.

Suspensions of 10 days or fewer increased by 4 percent over last year, but long-term suspensions decreased by 4.5 percent.

Expulsions also decreased, by 35.7 percent. Four districts reported using corporal punishment. The overall number decreased by more than 50 percent.

The dropout rate decreased down to 2.29 percent from 2.39 percent the previous year, and 10,889 students dropped out compared to 11,190 the previous year.

Students dropped out most frequently at 10th grade. Males accounted for more than 61 percent of the dropouts.

The data will be presented to the State Board of Education next Thursday.

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