by Robyn Gee
Each school year, more than 700,000 California students — predominantly black and Latino — are suspended or expelled.
Robert, a talkative sixth-grader in the city of Richmond, has been suspended three times from his elementary school in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. If he gets suspended one more time, he says, he might get expelled. [NPR has withheld his last name because he is a minor.]
Getting expelled may sound extreme for a kid as young as Robert. But the most recent data in California show almost half of total expulsions statewide cited vague offenses, including “willfully defying the authority of school personnel” and “disruption of school activities.”
Some teachers say suspending students from school does not change behavior; it just puts kids further behind and makes it extra difficult for students who rack up multiple suspensions while still in elementary school.