Out of School, Risking Violence

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The Baltimore Sun

By cross-referencing health department and school system records for 520 youths who were murdered or non-fatally shot in Baltimore between 2003 and 2007, the city was able to make a connection between poor school attendance and violent victimization. Reviewing attendance data back to 1999, the Baltimore Health Department found that the youths were absent from school an average of 46 days annually, and that more than two-thirds of them had been suspended or expelled at least once. Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso said the figures were intended to illustrate the public health implications of school-aged youth being out of school and on the streets. He has urged school principals to find alternatives to suspensions for nonviolent offenses. May 9, www.baltimoresun.com.