School discipline has recently come to the forefront of education issues. More specifically the different types of school discipline and whether or not it is used equitably across the board. Many people feel that school discipline policies are often not dispensed appropriately or equally and a new report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights would seem to confirm their suspensions.
According to the report, Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connections to the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities, students of color in general and particularly ones with disabilities were subject to much more disciplinary action than their white counterparts for similar infractions.
The Commission communicated as much to President Trump in their Letter of Transmittal:
“The Commission majority (six Commissioners in favor, two Commissioners in opposition) approved key findings including the following: Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers – but black students, Latino students, and Native American students in the aggregate receive substantially more school discipline than their white peers and receive harsher and longer punishments than their white peers receive for like offenses. Students with disabilities are approximately twice as likely to be suspended throughout each school level compared to students without disabilities.”
According to the report zero-tolerance policies, and exclusionary discipline, in particular, are at the core of the disparity and that such practices could push kids into the school-to-prison pipeline. It also touched on the tendency of schools to use school resource officers for minor situations that don’t ordinarily call for law enforcement.
This type of finding is not new. Studies have long shown inequitable practices in regard to school discipline.
Among other things, the Commission recommended that the Trump administration offer schools more guidance on complying with existing nondiscrimination laws and using school resource officers in “noncriminal” situations.
Read the full report here.