14,000 pupils suspended from class
More than 14,000 children have been suspended from school in Northern Ireland in the last three years, it was revealed.
A further 82 pupils were expelled in the same period, figures from the Department of Education revealed.
The information was released to East Londonderry SDLP MLA John Dallat.
"While schools are entitled to remove either temporarily or permanently children who are a disruption or a danger to school life either in the classroom or elsewhere the education system should have adequate resources to ensure that only in the most extreme cases should children be taken out of the education system even for a short period," he said.
A total of 14,044 children have been suspended from schools in the last three years.
There is little difference between controlled, maintained and other schools.
Mr Dallat added: "The figures, of course, do not give us a picture of the reasons why children are either suspended or expelled from school nor do they suggest what alternatives may be available to avoid the ultimate sanction.
"From my point of view as a member of the Public Accounts Committee I am concerned that public money spent on education results on so many children out of school. I would like to see the figures falling as they are in the UK.
'There is also the serious issue relating to literacy and numeracy where as many as four thousand children are leaving school each year with an inability to read or write. I suspect that a proportion of these children figure prominently in the two categories."