Racial Disparities Persist Even as School Suspensions Decrease, Federal Data Shows

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WASHINGTON — Out-of-school suspensions dropped 20 percent nationally in recent years, but students of color and students with disabilities are still more likely to face harsh discipline than their peers, according to new federal data.

The Department of Education said Tuesday the drop in suspensions from the 2011-12 to 2013-14 school years shows more schools are finding alternative ways to address nonviolent student behavior.

hub_arrow_2-01But sharp disparities endure in the results of the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection, which covers 50 million students in nearly every public school and school district in the country.

The data showed black students were more likely to be suspended than their white peers, a trend that begins in preschool and lasts through high school. They also were more likely to be expelled and to be referred to law enforcement.

In addition, students with disabilities were more likely to be suspended than their peers and disproportionately restrained or placed in seclusion.

“The CRDC data are more than numbers and charts — they illustrate in powerful and troubling ways disparities in opportunities and experiences that different groups of students have in our schools,” said Education Secretary John B. King in a news release.

Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the civil rights organization Advancement Project, said the data illustrate “persistent racism” in schools.

“Schools must change policies that allow for subjective decisions on the basis of race and move toward police-free learning spaces,” she said.

School discipline policies are an area of concern for juvenile justice advocates. When students face suspensions and expulsions, they are more likely to drop out of school and end up in the juvenile justice system, a phenomenon known as “school pushout” or the “school to prison pipeline.”

The survey’s findings include:

  • black children in preschool are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers;
  • black students in kindergarten through 12th grade are almost four times more likely to be suspended than their white peers;
  • black students are 2.3 times more likely to be referred to law enforcement or have a school-related arrest as their white peers;
  • students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to have one or more suspensions than their peers without disabilities; and
  • students with disabilities in kindergarten through 12th grade who are served by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (11 percent) are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities.

The Education Department highlighted its topline findings in a “first look” report with additional releases expected throughout the summer. In August, the survey data will be available in a data reporting tool.

6 thoughts on “Racial Disparities Persist Even as School Suspensions Decrease, Federal Data Shows

  1. Ignorance is bliss. If I keep telling you the sky is red you will believe it. America can’t handle the truth…being white in this country holds certain privileges that blacks don’t have. So, unless you have walked one day in the shoes of a black person your perception can only be that. However, blacks do NEED TO WAKE UP and quit allowing themselves to be what they were never created to be. But America and those that choose to see that there is not a problem with racism, just blacks are thugs, ignorant, lazy etc…than The Plan from the powers that be have succeeded. While everyone walks around in this “matrix” society, feeding off of and believing the lies the media and others display. This country was created in the backs of slaves, taken from the Indians, and thrive off of a capitalistic system. Pipeline to prison theology is nothing more than a modern day slave trade…the powers that be…..whomever they are…keeps telling you the sky is red when clearly it is blue…but it’s easier to be a puppet when the puppet master says “you’re 1st as long as you stay ignorant to the truth of the system..”Americans can’t handle the truth!!!

  2. If Obama wanted the number to go down, what tools do teachers have to deal with misbehaviour? Or must the whole class suffer as a badly behaved child may now remain in place? As a society we go backwards with such politics. Politicians do not like a number and as in the East Block demand a change. The number changes but the underlying problem not. If we do not acknowlege the real problem we cannot solve it … and our children have to pay for it.

  3. If parents quit depending just on schools to make their kids behave there wouldn’t be behavior issues. In the 1950’s I went to parochial school where the teachers ask my parents to discipline me if I should happen to not behave & do as told by the teachers. My parents agreed but let my mom know that discipline starts at home. Nobody got suspended & infact some unruly kids did not act up in school, but did so at home. Maybe that had something to do with siblings at home, father working & mother not so attentive to just one child at home. Some mothers would say just wait until your father gets home from work. Then it was the fathers turn to discipline the unruly kid. In that time & era family values were more upheld, less divorces & there were many large families- the baby boomers. I knew kids whose parent died early in age, but the other parent still kept up on discipline. If the powers that be wanna say it’s a racial thing then well it’s black family values or the lack of.

  4. Maybe those who get suspensions are not disciplined at home. It isn’t a race issue, it’s about discipline in Black families!

    • Nothing self-evidently racist in that comment. Why can’t we all have the same level of maturity and discipline as white people instead of always focusing on systemic racism and the disproportionate targeting of minorities, who we know are “thugs” and “troublemakers”?