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Absenteeism, Drug Abuse Reported As Top Two Discipline Problems

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High schools across the country reported absenteeism, drug and alcohol abuse, and class-cutting as their most serious discipline problems in a new study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (nces).

The study says that rape and weapons possession are the least frequently cited problems, and it notes that high schools that enforce stricter rules have fewer discipline problems.

The report also says that although student misconduct remains a major problem, most students conform to school rules.

The report--called "Discipline, Order and Student Behavior in American High Schools"--is based on data gathered for the nces's study of high-school students, "High School and Beyond." The report uses data collected from 58,270 students in 1,015 public and private schools and from administrators in 988 schools.

Report's Major Findings

Some other major findings of the study include:

Hispanic students have higher rates of misbehavior than either blacks or whites. Black sophomores misbehave somewhat more than white sophomores; black seniors misbehave somewhat less than white seniors.

The relative number of white students and students of other races in the school has no independent effect on most types of misbehavior as reported by students.

Seniors have poorer attendance records than sophomores, but sophomores are more likely to have been in trouble with the law. (Many students in trouble with the law, however, drop out of school before their senior year.)

Males are more likely than females to misbehave and are more likely to be in serious trouble with the law.

Students whose parents keep close track of their activities behave much better than other students.

Catholic-school students have fewer discipline problems than public-school students. Catholic-school students were also more likely to believe that discipline is fairly administered in their schools.

Low-achieving students misbehave more than high-achieving ones.

Schools in the Western part of the country have the highest rates of misbehavior. Schools in the North, Central, and South Central regions have the lowest rates of misbehavior.

Copies of the report, now being printed, will be available for $7.50 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402; order # S/N 065-000-00126-8.

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