In Washington Area, African American Students Suspended and Expelled Two to Five Times as Often as Whites

Donna St. George, Washington Times, December 28, 2011

Across the Washington area, black students are suspended and expelled two to five times as often as white students, creating disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem.

An analysis by The Washington Post shows the phenomenon both in the suburbs and in the city, from the far reaches of Southern Maryland to the subdivisions of Fairfax, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Last year, for example, one in seven black students in St. Mary’s County were suspended from school, compared with one in 20 white students. In Alexandria, black students were nearly six times as likely to be suspended as their white peers.

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In Fairfax, where the suicide in January of a white high school football player who had been suspended brought an outcry for change, African American students were four times as likely that year to be suspended as white students, and Hispanic students were twice as likely.

The problems extend beyond the Washington area to school districts across the country and are among a host of concerns about school discipline that sparked a joint effort by the U.S. Justice and Education departments in July to look into reforms.

Experts say disparities appear to have complex causes. A disproportionate number of black students live below the poverty line or with a single parent, factors that affect disciplinary patterns. But experts say those factors do not fully explain racial differences in suspensions. Other contributing factors could include unintended bias, unequal access to highly effective teachers and differences in school leadership styles.

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Suspensions have surged nationally since the 1970s, fueled in part by a zero-tolerance culture. As suspensions ticked up, racial disparities widened between blacks and whites–and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics and whites.

The most recent national figures, from 2006, show that 5 percent of white students are suspended, compared with 15 percent of their black classmates, 7 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of Asians.

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  • RandyB

    The problem with this study, as always, is that there’s no measurement of the commission of suspendable offenses.

  • Goldar

    The article failed to mention lower average IQ and higher levels of testoterone as contributing factors of black misbehavior.

  • Lee

    The Washington Post calls it a “phenomenon. Most rational folks call it cause and effect.

    I.e., you cause more trouble, you get disciplined more.

    ————————————-

    “Experts say disparities appear to have complex causes. A disproportionate number of black students live below the poverty line or with a single parent, factors that affect disciplinary patterns. But experts say those factors do not fully explain racial differences in suspensions. Other contributing factors could include unintended bias, unequal access to highly effective teachers and differences in school leadership styles.”

    Yes, behavior is a complex issue. However, the politically correct have silenced any dialogue about the topic of IQ and how it affects behavior. It’s just so much easier to blame whitey for “untintentional bias”.

  • White Mom

    The most recent national figures, from 2006, show that 5 percent of white students are suspended, compared with 15 percent of their black classmates, 7 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of Asians.

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    Once again, here’s the old iron law of American sociology.

    Uncivilized behavior: Black > Mestizo (Hispanic) > White > NE Asian

  • Anonymous

    The reporter almost seems to notice somewhere in the article that black students are committing more offenses than white students. That they last thing they are, in these cases, are victims. She seems on the edge of pointing that out or perhaps somewhere in the article this observation is implied. Perhaps some sensitivity training will be coming her way.