The following were among actions taken at the Sept. 10 meeting of the Prince George's County Board of Education. For more information, call 952-6000.
SUSPENSION STUDY -- During the last school year, school officials issued 17,122 suspension notices to 10,248 students, 77 percent to black students, according to a report presented to the board. The suspension rate is more than twice that of other area school systems. About 61 percent of the county's 102,500 students are black. The school board had requested the study to help it deal with the problem of disruptive students.
Superintendent John A. Murphy told the board he has no plans to relax the schools' stiff discipline policy but is looking at ways to keep more suspended youngsters in school. A 10-member committee of citizens and staff members is now studying the problem. In the report Murphy recommends creating in-school detention centers and expanding Project Success, a program currently in operation at six area high schools. It identifies "at risk" students in middle school and places them in smaller classes with more teacher contact when they move to high school.
SCHOOL FOR DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS -- After learning that construction costs would be about $1 million, the board tabled the idea for an alternative school for disruptive students. The controversial proposal to place disruptive students in a separate school is an on again-off again one that has drawn staunch criticism from some school board members who worry about the school's impact on black students and are concerned that it could become "a dumping ground" for problem students. Bonnie Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the school system, said that budget problems have indefinitely postponed plans for a separate school.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG HANDICAPPED STUDENTS -- The board unanimously approved a recommendation by the superintendent that area handicapped students participate in a University of Maryland study focusing on drug abuse among the handicapped, an area of drug abuse not studied before. The board insisted that parental permission be obtained for students participating in the program.
HOME REPAIR PROGRAM -- The board unanimously approved a recommendation by the superintendent that students from Tall Oaks Vocational School participate in the new senior citizen home repair program. The program, operated in conjunction with the county's Department on Aging, will match 20 students with area senior citizens whose homes need minor repairs.