Report: School discipline practices nationwide disproportionately affect minorities
In schools across the United States, minority students are receiving more multi-day, at-home suspensions and long-term expulsions than Caucasian students, according to a new investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.
The report, published Sunday, concluded the punishments do not always fit the crimes and may be setting up youths for long-term failure.
Pupils as young as elementary-school age have been expelled for infractions such as sexual battery and obscenity, resulting in discipline hearings that resemble legal proceedings and leave parents at a disadvantage, the Center for Public Integrity reported.
A study out of Texas, which was mentioned in the report, suggested high suspension-expulsion rates are detrimental to graduation rates.
Ann Arbor Public Schools addressed the district’s own disproportionate number of black, special needs and economically disadvantaged students that are removed from the classroom at Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The Center for Public Integrity said suspensions and expulsions have been on the rise nationally since the 1970s. That upward trend spiked in 1999, following a shooting spree at Columbine High School and the subsequent "zero-tolerance" policy.
New Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green said Wednesday that zero tolerance has created a knee-jerk reaction to behavioral problems in schools. She outlined a general plan to close the discipline gap at the meeting. She will follow that up with a more specific course of action in the spring.