Feds Say Suspension Overused on Minority Students


A growing number of schools suspend over 50% of their racial and ethnic students in a given year, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center study.

The study, called Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis, found that zero tolerance policies in schools have led to suspension being overused as a disciplinary tool, especially for kids of color.

This corresponds with the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice’s public school discipline study across the state, which is underway right now. As JJIE.org reported Friday, Georgia Appleseed is surveying parents and kids in Phase II of its study on school discipline methods in public schools.

An early version of the study, called Effective School Discipline: Keeping Kids in Class, showed a high number of minority kids being punished by out-of-school suspension, which adversely affected their success in school. School systems with the highest rates of suspension had graduation rates below the state average.

The Georgia study also found that black kids, special education students and those receiving free or reduced lunches were disciplined more than other kids.

If you’re interested in learning how to reduce disproportionate minority contact in school suspensions, check out the webinar called “The Critical Role of Schools in Combating Disproportionate Minority Contact: National Perspective and Local Solutions”, taking place on November 18 at 11am. The event is hosted by a group with a very long name: The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk. Click here to register.

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Karen Edwards

Karen is the Writer/Online Content Producer for JJIE. She's a recent graduate from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Communication.