Middle school kids nationwide, specifically minorities, are facing out of school suspension at alarming rates, according to a study published by the Southern Poverty Law Center called Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis.
Atlanta is one of 18 urban school districts the researchers studied. Using data from more than 9,000 middle schools they discovered a suspension rate of 11.2 percent. But the suspension rate for black boys was dramatically higher at 28.3 percent…almost three times higher than the rate for white boys.The research focuses on middle schools and warns suspensions in these grades may have significant, long-term repercussions for students. Also, few previous studies have separated middle school data from that for all grades, masking the extraordinarily high frequency of suspension in middle schools.
The authors also cite some earlier research from one state where kids were being kicked out of school for minor problems. Ninety-five percent of suspensions were either categorized as “disruptive behavior” or “other” and only 5 percent involved weapons or drugs.