A report that tracked some 1 million Texas junior high and high school students for six years found nearly six in 10 had been suspended or expelled.
Of that group some 15 percent were suspended or expelled at least 11 times with half ending up in the juvenile justice system, the study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Public Policy Research institute of Texas A&M University found.
Study researchers were interested in determining the common characteristics of children who are disciplined.
They found special education students were more likely to be disciplined while a higher percentage of African-American and Hispanic students had at least one discretionary violation compared with Anglo students.
The study found schools with similar demographics varied greatly in how frequently they suspended or expelled students.
Spokeswoman Suzanne Marchman of the Texas Education Agency told the San Antonio Express News there is concern the study creates the wrong impression about Texas students.
"It looks like the majority of Texas students are wayward students and just because a student is tardy to class or wears a tank top ... doesn't mean they're going to be bad kids," Marchman said.
Deputy Director Curtis Clay of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University said he hadn't read the study but the percentage of students disciplined was higher than he expected.