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The Minnesota Department of Education requires each public school district to submit yearly statistics on major discipline incidents and out-of-school suspensions. These are available on the MDE website under data center and cover the most recent five years.

The discipline statistics (suspensions, exclusions and expulsions) are also broken down for the different grades — K-5 (elementary schools), 6-8 (middle schools) and 9-12 (high schools).

In the Minnetonka School District, analysis of the latest five years shows a student discipline increases of 350% in K-5 (six schools), 33% in 6-8 (two schools) and 63% in 9-12 (one school).

For comparison, the Wayzata School District has a roughly equal enrollment to Minnetonka (12,000 versus 11,000), but with an open enrollment percentage of less than 10% compared to Minnetonka's 33%.

Wayzata shows a 36% drop in discipline in K-5 grades (nine schools), an increase of 13% in 6-8 grades (three schools) and a drop of 57% in 9-12 (one school).

In fact, in the 2018-2019 MDE data set, the Wayzata District K-5 grades had a total of nine discipline incidents, averaging one per elementary school, while Minnetonka's K-5 grades had a total of 54 discipline incidents averaging nine per elementary school.

The Minnetonka School District needs to explain these numbers or at least comment on them.

Steve Farnes

Excelsior

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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