African American students are more than three times as likely to be handed out-of-school suspensions as are white children, according to an extensive study released Tuesday by education researchers affiliated with UCLA. Nationwide, one out of six African American students is at risk of suspension every year, compared with one in 14 Hispanic students and one in 20 white students.
“Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School” is the latest report to highlight racial and ethnic disparities in student discipline and to call for alternatives to out-of-school suspensions. It includes a database of suspensions by race and ethnicity for districts and states.
“The findings in this study are deeply disturbing,” wrote Gary Orfield, a professor of education and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, in a foreword to the report. “Students who are barely maintaining a connection with their school often are pushed out, as if suspension were a treatment.”