Suspensions down at local school board

'There has been less student interaction because of virtual learning'

By Kirk Winter

In 2020-2021, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board suspended and/or expelled 780 students. That’s down from previous years, partly because virtual learning ensured less interaction between students, according to the board.

There were 309 suspensions at elementary, and 471 at secondary. The typical suspension was one to three days. Forty-four students were suspended at least twice. The three leading reasons for suspensions were 225 cases of conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school, 150 code of conduct violations and 125 incidents of fighting or violence.

Superintendent of learning Paul Goldring presented the annual suspension report to trustees at their last regular board meeting.

“Of the 23 suspensions pending expulsion,” Goldring said, “15 were referred to mediation, and only 8 resulted in expulsions.”

In 2017-2018 the board expelled 13 students, in 2018-2019 17 students and in 2019-2020 12 students were expelled.

Trustee Stephen Binstock asked Goldring what was behind these statistics and if Goldring was happy with these numbers.

“These statistics are influenced by the fact that in the last two years there has been less student interaction because of virtual learning. Also, the ministry now directs that students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 can no longer be suspended as emphasis is put on keeping students in schools.”

“We are also using mediation more often, trying to keep students in school with supports as long as they are not a threat to others,” Goldring added.

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