Suspension Rates Exceed 40 Percent At Three Hampden County Schools

Dec 11, 2018

Three of the 10 schools with the highest rates of student suspensions in Massachusetts are in Hampden County.

Two on the list — Chicopee Academy in Chicopee, and Balliett Middle School in Springfield — are alternative schools for students who have had trouble succeeding elsewhere.

The third is Libertas Academy, a charter school in Springfield.

Last year, it disciplined 41 percent of its students with an out-of-school suspension.

Libertas started in June of 2017 with only sixth graders, and plans to add a grade each year.

Founder and director Modesto Montero said part of the suspension rate can be explained by higher expectations.

"Some of the infractions that maybe in elementary school would not have warranted a consequence, were at our school — things like high-level profanity," Montero said.

Montero said the school is now trying other ways to get the behavior it wants without resorting to suspension.