DURHAM, N.H. – A new analysis of student discipline in New Hampshire middle and high schools from 2010-2014 shows that although rates of out-of-school suspension among high school students are slightly lower than national trends, rates of expulsion are far below the national average. The research, conducted by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, also finds that students attending urban schools are twice as likely to experience in-school suspension and three times as likely to experience out-of-school suspension as students at non-urban schools.
All of New Hampshire’s urban schools are located in Hillsborough County, the state’s most populous. These schools average 43 percent eligible for free or reduced lunch and 29 percent students of color, compared to 25 and six percent respectively in the state’s non-urban schools. More than 15 percent of the state’s middle and high school student population attend urban schools.
“Previous research has found that students subjected to frequent exclusionary discipline are more likely to drop out of school, not graduate on time and become involved with the juvenile justice system in what has been termed ‘the school to prison pipeline,’” according to the report.
In addition, the research found that male students, students of color, students eligible for free or reduced lunch, students with disabilities and homeless students were more likely to experience exclusionary discipline in New Hampshire’s middle and high schools, although racial disparities appear to stem largely from the greater racial diversity at the urban schools that use exclusionary discipline at higher rates with all students.
“It is clear that certain groups of students experience disproportionate levels of exclusionary discipline,” the researchers said. “The ultimate success of students sharing the characteristics associated with an elevated probability of experiencing high levels of exclusionary discipline may depend in part on how their schools respond to them.”
The report was written by Carsey researchers Eleanor Jaffee, Douglas Gagnon and Reeve Kennedy. The report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/exclusionary-discipline-nh.
This research was commissioned by NH Kids Count, a Concord-based nonprofit which, for more than 27 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of children by assembling the most comprehensive data on child well-being in the state. The report follows a study published in 2009 by the (then) Carsey Institute and commissioned by NH Kids Count, known at that time as the NH Children’s Alliance. It detailed both the number and types of schools suspensions in the 2007-08.
The Carsey School of Public Policy is nationally recognized for its research, policy education and engagement. The school takes on the pressing issues of the 21st century, striving for innovative, responsive and equitable solutions.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling 13,000 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students.