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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Clark County School officials are alarmed over the growing number of behavior problems at middle schools.

CCSD data showed nearly 7,800 middle school students were suspended from August to December. Board of trustee members discussed the data at a meeting on Thursday night.

The issue is of concern because it is behavior that they believe is forcing kids out of the classroom and away from academics. School officials believe the pandemic may have played a role in the behavioral issues they have seen.

“This is definitely an area of focus for us. It is noted that these were in elementary school during the distance-learning part of COVID-19, and we are seeing differences in patterns of behavior in these students,” CCSD Assistant Superintendent Kevin McPartlin said.

CCSD middle schools with highest number of suspensions during 2023-2024 school year

  • Garside Junior High School – 838 suspensions
  • Sedway Middle School – 835 suspensions
  • Lawrence Junior High School – 801 suspensions
  • Gibson Middle School – 777 suspensions
  • Source: CCSD

Administrators said they are zeroing in on the problem schools, by holding town halls to get to the root cause.

“Common conflicts that sometimes occur on the playground, during class period, change of classes. Before and after school,” CCSD Assistant Superintendent Sam Scavella said.

A data point that stood out to school board trustees was the suspension of black and African-American students. The demographic continues to be suspended at a disproportionate level compared to other groups.

CCSD School Board Trustee Lola Brooks said just being able to see the data is key.

“That’s how we can tell that our black and African American students continue to be disciplined at a higher rate than other students. We’re trying to close these gaps,” she said.

Overall, the district says across all schools suspensions and expulsions are down so far this year compared to last year.

CCSD will introduce a new student code of conduct next year that will add restorative practice and put in place re-entry plans for kids kicked out of school.

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