The annual overview of student suspensions was presented by Assistant Superintendent Steve Carlton. Since 2008, the total number of suspensions (in-school and out-of-school) has dropped from 1,794 to 1,254 or roughly 30%.
The overall drop in the number of suspensions is partly attributed to a system-wide response to children in need of behaviour support. This response includes: various positive behaviour support initiatives; the 100% Project tracking an entire co-hort of grade 8’s through graduation which provided valuable data; youth care workers in each middle school; an alternate program to support highest risk students at each secondary school; the YMCA Alternative Suspension Program housed at Abbotsford Recreation Centre; plus a number of community efforts by groups including the City of Character Committee and Abbotsford Restorative Justice Advocacy Association.
The report notes “a large part (of the decline in number of suspensions) is our shift in culture around supporting students and keeping them in the school over the past five years. As a result, schools at the secondary and middle levels have started to develop in-house alternate programs to support and teach these students, rather than punish them.”