New data from the Department of Education finds that black males face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students. These findings validate what many activists have been saying for awhile: that there is increasingly a school-to-prison pipeline for students of color.
From the New York Times:
Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.
One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.
And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.
“Education is the civil rights of our generation,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a telephone briefing with reporters on Monday. “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.”
The NYT also notes that over 70 percent of the students referred to law enforcement or involved in school-related arrests were Hispanic or black.
To learn more about disproportionate minority contact:
- OJJDP's DMC Virtual Resource Center
- Juvenile Justice Reform: A New Strategy for Reducing DMC
- Bryan Stevenson at TED 2012 on Juvenile Justice System, Need for Reform
- Report Highlights Racial Disparities in California's Juvenile 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 from @LizSF.
*Photo at top by Flickr user DeepCWind
Updated: March 07 2012