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DC black students expelled at greater rate than white students
by LIZ WU

Black students in the DC area are being suspended and expelled from school 2 to 5 times as often as white students. This disturbing fact has big implications for youth and the juvenile justice system.

A new analysis by The Washington Post found that almost 6 percent of black students were suspended or expelled from school last year, compared with 1.2 percent of white students. Across the country, 15 percent of black students were suspended, compared with five percent of white students, 7 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of Asians. 

In many states, students are suspended not only for violent acts but also for disrespect, defiance, insubordination, disruption and bad language. These infractions are subjective and give educators a lot of leeway in deciding when to report students.

As The Washington Post explains:

The stakes are high for those who get booted out of school.

Out-of-school suspensions mean lost classroom time and, for some, disconnection from school. A recent landmark study of nearly a million Texas children showed that suspension increased the likelihood of repeating a grade that year and landing in the juvenile-justice system the next year. It also was linked to dropping out.

Earlier this year, the Departments of Justice and Education teamed up to create the Supportive School Discipline Initiative to address the “school-to-prison pipeline” and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system.


Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets at @LizSF.