School districts can deny admissions to a prospective student through Schools of Choice if that student has been suspended during the past two years, or expelled at any time. Grounds for suspension are set independently by school boards. The Grand Rapids school district, for example, allows teachers to suspend students who make “profane or vulgar comments,” in addition to allowing suspension for more serious actions, such as physical aggression, or possession of a weapon.
According to federal data, more than 27,000 students in Michigan received one or more in-school suspensions, and more than 36,000 students received one out-of-school suspension during the 2009-10 school year, the latest year information is available. In its 2012 analysis of that data, the New York Times reported that the Pontiac School District, where thousands of resident students use Schools of Choice to attend other districts, had suspended 68 percent of its African-American students.