DENVER (KDVR) — Safety and discipline data says Colorado students misbehaved in record numbers in the year following the COVID pandemic’s disruptions.
The Colorado Department of Education compiles annual counts of how many students are suspended, expelled and referred to law enforcement each year for a dozen categories of infractions. The categories run from violence to disruption to property damage.
There were decade-record numbers of suspensions and expulsions. Half a dozen of the categories were at record highs during the 2021-22 school year, including low-level assault, dangerous weapons and drugs.
There wasn’t a swell in the number of serious assaults in the 2021-22 school year, but there was an increase in less serious violence-related incidents.
There were 982 suspensions and expulsions related to dangerous weapons last school year, the highest since the 2007-2008 academic year. There were more punishments related to third-degree assaults and disorderly conduct than in any year since 2011 with 4,966 in total.
There was also more physical destruction. The number of punishments related to the destruction of school property was the second-highest in the last 20 years. Only the 2013-14 school year had more.
Alcohol-related punishments did not rise, but those related to other substances did. There were more tobacco-related punishments than in any of the last 20 years and more overall punishments for drugs.
CDE used to group all drug charges together, but starting in 2014, it separated marijuana from other drugs. As a whole, last year saw more drug-related punishments than any of the last 20 years. It also saw a record number of strictly marijuana-related punishments.