Mount Boucherie Secondary (MBS) ranked third among Central Okanagan schools for handing out definitive suspensions in the 2019-20 school year, according to a school district staff report.
MBS accumulated 99 student suspensions for the year, which reflected both an increase from the 65 registered in 2014-15 but also a continuing decrease from the high of 177 in 2015-16.
Topping the suspension list for 2019-20 was Ecole KLO Middle at 106 followed by Ecole Kelowna Secondary at 103.
The report, submitted for trustees to address at the Jan. 10, board of education meeting, breaks down definite and indefinite suspensions statistics by school, grade level, male vs. female students, and occurrence of suspendable offences.
The report finds the most common reasons for suspension is “somewhat consistent” with the data for the previous four years, with one of the most evident changes noted is the number of female students suspended for smoking.
“This can be accounted for when consideration is given to the fact that students suspended for ‘vaping’ are included in the category of ‘smoking,'” states the report.
“The increase in vaping amongst school-aged students is a concern for school districts in many areas across the country and is being monitored and addressed both provincially and federally through Health Authorities.”
Of the 945 suspensions in the 2019-20 school year, 180 were given to Grade 9 students, followed by 167 for Grade 8 and 143 for Grade 7 students.
Overall the largest definite suspension decreases were seen in the areas of smoking (from 189 to 114); fighting (190 to 137), and behaviour (from 348 to 318).
Increases were evident for bullying (from 45 to 54) and language (16 to 17).
Male students, who overall received 75 per cent of the suspensions in the school district, were hit with suspensions were most commonly for general behaviour (37.5%), fighting (16.8%), drugs (11.4%) and smoking (10.4%).
Female students’ suspension categories were topped by general behaviour (22.6%), truancy(21.4%) and smoking (16.9%).
While the overall decrease trend in suspensions is laudable, the report reiterates the need for school district staff to continue proactive and positive efforts to support school codes of conduct and enhancing school cultures.
The report also acknowledges programs such as the positive behaviour intervention support program, school-based mental health clinicians, drug and alcohol intervention and education initiatives, school counselling and the district social-emotional learning team for contributing to the suspension decreases.
“The need for active monitoring and reviewing of student behaviour by school staffs and for codes of conduct to be vigorously and appropriately enforced is of utmost importance,” stated the report.