- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City Public Schools data shows the district is on track to suspending fewer students than last year, but is still suspending more minority students than white students.

The district reports a nearly 55 percent reduction in out-of-school suspensions as of April 28 compared to last year.

The data shows black students accounted for 41 percent of total suspensions, Hispanic students accounted for 36 percent of total suspensions and white students accounted for 13 percent of suspensions.

“Our goal is to bring percentages of suspensions in line with the percentages of our population,” said Chuck Tompkins, the district’s director of student climate and student discipline. “We have a ways to go with that. Absolutely.

Students are suspended for mostly fighting, disruptive behavior and disorderly conduct, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2qhTdHv ) reported.

Tompkins said an average out-of-school suspension lasts about four days.

“We are addressing student behavior better than we have in the past,” Tompkins said. “We’re helping students rather than just punishing them.”

He said suspensions are down because the district is getting better at supporting principals, teachers and students.

The U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is currently monitoring the district. The department’s investigators found the district referred black students for discipline more than three times as often as white students during the 2014-15 school year.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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