That's how it was where I went to school too. I can think of maybe two times from K-12th grade that someone got suspended and it was normally for being involved in something criminal that happened at the school (dealing drugs, stealing money).
I went to school in the 80's/early 90's. Suspensions were frequent but were only handed out for serious fighting incidents (weapons involved, repeat offender, excessive violence like throwing a kid through a window) and drug offenses.
My senior high school had some of the highest test scores in the country yet had one of the highest heroin addiction and suicide rates as well. I remember much more violence in middle school, though. Japanese throwing stars were popular for a while. Fun times.