Report: Little violence, drugs among Issaquah School District students

June 26, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Issaquah’s students are pretty well-behaved, according to a report released this month by the school district.

The annual discipline report for the 2010-2011 school year was finished June 6 and presented to the Issaquah School Board at its June 20 meeting. Broken into two parts, behavior and weapons, the report shows that fewer than 2 percent of the district’s student body was suspended or expelled last year.

That rate is down a quarter of a percent from the 2009-2010 academic year. The annual report only looks at suspensions and expulsions. More minor infractions, including times that students are sent to the principal’s office or put in detention, are not included.

“When you think about the 17,000-plus students in 24 schools, these numbers are pretty impressive in terms of how well-behaved our students are,” Associate Superintendent Ron Thiele said. “We have to give a lot of credit to our families out there.”

If you go

The complete discipline reports are available on the district’s website at www.issaquah.wednet.edu. On the school board tab click on “agendas and meetings.” Select the link to the 6-20-2012 meeting agenda. Scroll down and on the left side you will find links to the EL-11 Discipline reports.

According to the report for the 2010-2011 school year, there were no issues with guns. However, two students, one from Pacific Cascade Middle School and the other from Liberty High School, were expelled for bringing a knife or dagger to school. Another 18 were suspended for knives and other weapons.

Six students, four from Liberty, two from Tiger Mountain Community High School and one from Pacific Cascade, were expelled for drug possession. Thirty-five more from throughout the district were suspended, including 15 from Issaquah High School.

Skyline High School reported nine alcohol suspensions. Alcohol was not just a problem for high schools, however. Pacific Cascade had three alcohol suspensions and Maywood Middle school had one. Tobacco was the reason another seven, including three middle school students, were suspended.

But what students most got in trouble for was fighting and bullying, which accounted for 181 suspensions and expulsions. Out of the 139 cases of violence, one resulted in a major injury. Fifty-two of those suspensions came from the elementary schools. The other 42 were suspended for bullying. According to district policy, bullying can take many forms, including photographs, rumors, pranks and cartoons. Most of the bullying was reported in the middle schools.

“Good people make bad decisions,” Thiele said. “I really do look for folks (when hiring) that tell me that discipline is a learning opportunity. It’s part of the education experience and that is how it should be treated.”

Lillian Tucker: 392-6434, ext. 242, or ltucker@sammamishreview.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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