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REPORT: Students of Color With Disabilities Are Punished More Harshly Than Their White Peers
Andrew Pillow
August 1, 2019

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.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. More harshly and much more often.

    Too often kids with diagnosed disabilities come from families of color who may not have been directed to get a diagnosis. Many kids that can’t read because they were not taught properly act out in frustration and are criminalized.

    But I was astonished when my son’s very homogeneous dyslexia school also criminalized boys more than girls. If boys were out of dress code (untucked, loose tie), they would get a “slip.” But girls with their skirts too short would not. One mother complained that her daughter grew too fast. My son did too, and his pants were short and his shirt was too short to stay tucked in.

    Was the school scared of “sexual” nature of telling a girl her skirt was too short?

    Reply
  2. A friend told me her 3rd grade dyslexic son of color still reading at Kindergarten had money for the book fair. The younger kids went first, and by the time the 3rd graders got there, there were no books for my friend kid. He tried to explain to the book fair volunteers but they didn’t understand.
    When he got frustrated, they called the security guard. Luckily, a friend of the family saw it happen, was able to intervene effectively, but still my friend still had to meet her kid in the principals office. Why embarrass and already frustrated kid more. If people would only address the causes rather than the symptoms!

    Reply

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