Primary student suspensions spike 47 per cent in four years: report
Kendra Mangione and Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, December 1, 2015 7:23PM EST
The number of primary students suspended in Toronto public schools has increased nearly 50 per cent over the last four years, school board documents show.
There were 810 suspensions of students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3, in the 2014-15 school year. The number was recently published as part of the Toronto District School Board's annual safety report.
The oldest data available online was on the 2011-12 school year, when 550 primary students were suspended.
In both years, the highest number of primary suspensions was in Grade 2. There were 208 suspensions of Grade 2 students in 2011-12. The TDSB recorded 254 suspensions of Grade 2s in 2014-15.
The following number of suspensions were recorded in each grade in 2014-15:
- Junior Kindergarten – 44
- Senior Kindergarten – 49
- Grade 1 – 215
- Grade 2 – 254
- Grade 3 – 248
12 per cent of suspensions are primary students
The school board also kept track of suspensions by other grades last year, when 12 per cent of all suspensions in the TDSB involved students in the primary grades.
The percentage of suspensions in the primary grades in 2014-15 was nearly double the number in 2011-12, when primary students made up 6.7 per cent of all suspensions in the TDSB.
Despite the increase, primary students made up the smallest percentage of suspensions in the TDSB.
The largest percentage of suspensions in both years was at the high school level, followed by Intermediate (Grades 7 and 8) and Junior (Grades 4 to 6).
President of the Ontario Principals’ Council Brian Serafini said several principals across the province have reported seeing larger numbersof students coming into schools with uncontrolled behaviour concerns, but the cause of the increased behavioural problems is unclear.
Serafini said that, in one case, a Grade 1 student tried to stab a teacher with a pair of scissors.
Principals have also reported an increase in teachers and education assistants who have been injured by students with behavioural issues.
Serafini said suspension is always the last resort for principals. Schools try to accommodate students as much as possible and provide them with the progressive discipline they need, but sometimes suspensions are necessary to ensure the safety of the student and their schoolmates.