VIOLENCE and persistent misbehaviour in Hunter and Central Coast schools has risen in the past four years, with NSW Education Department figures on long suspensions and expulsions showing 13 students are suspended or expelled every day from the region's state schools.
In the Hunter, most long suspensions were for persistent misbehaviour (47 per cent) followed by physical violence (41 per cent). Most long suspensions are for students between years 7 and 10.
Education advocates said that the rise in the proportion of students receiving suspensions reflected a discipline crackdown in Hunter schools because students were no longer being allowed to get away with misbehaviour.
The NSW Teachers Federation Hunter organiser, Fred Dumbrell, said there was increased reporting and he encouraged teachers to continue to use the procedures. He said the situation is not out of control and that such incidents happened throughout the whole community, not just in schools.
''There are certain areas of the Hunter where social problems of the broader community are reflected in the schools,'' he said.
Mr Dumbrell said it was important to remember there were a range of students in state schools, from those who were academically gifted to those who struggled with behaviour.
A NSW Education Department spokesman said schools remained among the safest places for children in the community.
Spokeswoman for the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie District Council of P&C, Margaret Bryden, said parents felt the suspension system was outdated and rewarded misbehaving students with a holiday.
''If their parents are working parents it creates all sorts of problems,'' she said. ''It doesn't solve the problem of them fitting in at school.''
She said parents would like to see schemes that dealt with misbehaviour inside the school and worked to re-engage students with the school community.