Black Girls Are 4 Times More Likely to Be Arrested at School Than White Girls

Katelyn Kivel, GritPost, March 5, 2019

Increasingly, school discipline doesn’t mean detention — it means jail time. That has a measurable impact on children, and particularly on disabled children and children of color.

Depending on the state, students with disabilities were between three and 10 times more likely to be arrested at school, and black students were between three and eight times more likely to be arrested than their peers. Black girls made up 40 percent of the total arrests of girls at school despite only being 13 percent of the total population of girls.

290,000 students were reported arrested in 2015-2016, despite large school districts often failing to report arrests altogether. And the racial bias in those arrests is one of many reasons policing has changed how black parents raise their children.

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Of the million cases that are considered serious offenses students commit, only three percent involve a weapon. And “weapon” is defined loosely — it could be a gun, but it could also be a baby carrot, or a stapler.

“if a student has a temper tantrum or bad day, and the school has a police officer instead of a counselor, then, you know, it’s like having a hammer instead of a screwdriver to respond to a screw,” said Amir Whitaker, Staff Attorney for ACLU of Southern California. “I’ve represented students that have had bad days or temper tantrums where they’ve maybe thrown a stapler and have been charged with assault and battery.”

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