BARSTOW • Barstow schools saw a drop in the number of student suspensions last semester, saving the district more than $12,000 than the same semester the year before.
According to a report by the Barstow Unified School District, schools suspended 370 students between August 2011 and December 2011, totaling 1,339 days of suspensions. For the same time period the year before, the school suspended an undetermined number of students for 1,699 days of suspensions.
Each day a student is absent the district loses about $35 of state funding provided for daily attendance, the report says. This last semester BUSD lost about $47,000 from suspensions, still lower than last year's semester loss of $59,700.
All but one school in the district had decreases in suspensions, some more significant than others.
The Challenges Community Day school for expelled students had a total of seven suspension days, an increase from last year, which boasted no suspensions.
By far, Barstow High School saw the greatest decrease in suspensions with 547 suspension days compared to last year's 680 suspension days.
BHS Principal Derrick Delton wasn't aware of the decrease before talking with the Desert Dispatch, though he said he was pleasantly surprised at the news.
"I'm really excited for the performance of our students here," Delton said. "A lot of this has to do with my assistant principals who do a good job of making students aware of the rules and the consequences for breaking those rules."
Delton said the school has been "aggressive" about consistency in rules and repercussions. That combined with the support of parents is what he thinks produced fewer suspensions this semester.
James said the district has been changing its discipline philosophy to decrease the number of suspensions in the district. This is actually one of their goals. An example of this is not necessarily suspending on the first offense, James said.
The BUSD School Board will be discussing this and various other items at Tuesday's school board meeting starting at 7 p.m. at the district office, 551 South Avenue H.
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Total Days of Suspension
Barstow High School - 547
Central High School - 41
Barstow Junior High School - 502
Cameron Elementary School - 24
Crestline Elementary School - 79
Henderson Elementary School - 21
Hinkley School - 32
Lenwood Elementary School - 26
Montara Elementary School - 17
Skyline North Elementary School - 15
Thomson Elementary School - 28
Challenges Community Day School - 7