Naeesa Aziz, BET, November 21, 2011
The call to action comes after the group reviewed discipline data for one county and discovered that schools with the largest African-American populations suspended Black students twice as often than would be expected based on population.
In addition, the group also found that the Black students were often disciplined for “attitude problems” like insubordination, while white students were typically only disciplined for specific offenses such as drug possession or vandalism. Although a 2004 state law prohibits disproportionate discipline, its mandate is discretionary and does not require any specific action from schools to stem the problem.
Carole Craig, NAACP education co-chairman and former Indiana Public School principal, says that regardless of the law, schools should step up to the plate to ensure discrimination is not allowed to continue unchecked.
Craig says that the NAACP is not asking for the legislation to be changed, but rather for schools to develop more awareness of cultural differences that can come across as disrespect. To assist in the process, she says that the organization has set up outreach programs in some schools to help students understand what behavior is considered acceptable.