More than 4,000 pupils were suspended from school at least once last year, more than three-quarters of whom were boys.
Figures published by the Department of Education this week show that 4,048 school pupils in Northern Ireland were suspended during the 2016/17 academic year.
The most frequent reason for pupils to be suspended was for breaking “minor school rules” on a frequent basis, which accounted for more than a quarter of all suspensions.
Physical attacks on other pupils made up another 20.96% of all suspensions, while the verbal abuse of staff accounted for 18.25%, and a further 8.39% of suspensions were for physical attacks on staff.
There were 158 individual suspensions for bullying, 135 for substance abuse, 303 for causing significant damage to property, 328 for verbal abuse of a pupil, 531 for disruptive behaviour in class, 51 for alcohol abuse and 119 for stealing.
The number of pupils suspended is down compared to the previous year,2015/16, when 4,156 were suspended.
A total of 33 pupils were expelled last year, with a third down to ‘persistent infringements of relatively minor school rules’ and 27% for ‘physical attacks on a pupil’.