Virginia School District Punishes More Black Students Than Whites: Complaint Reveals

“These disparities cannot be explained by differences in student behavior,” attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, Rachael Deane states.

A complaint filed on behalf of two Black students to the Department of Education brought to light the harsh punishments unleashed on Black students and students with disabilities by school authorities of the Richmond, Virginia’s School District.

The allegation leveled against the school was brought to the notice of the U.S Department of Education on Wednesday by two Black students and NAACP, Richmond branch. Some statistics disclosed by the complaint shows that African-American students constitute approximately 76% of the school’s population. Yet, 93% of all short-term suspensions are received by Black students. They also make up 98% of long-term suspension and 97% of expulsion cases.

Furthermore, the complaint said that Black students with disabilities are 13 times more likely to be suspended from school than their white counterparts.

Rachael Deane, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center addressing the disturbing issue said, “These disparities cannot be explained by differences in student behavior.” She also stated that “Rather, there is overwhelming evidence that the school division’s discipline policies are excessively punitive and lack clear standards for application, leading to subjective interpretation and selective enforcement.”

The Richmond Public School has a total population of about 24,000 students. In the meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the school has pledged the district’s support with the Civil Rights office to tackle the issue.

Lynetta Thompson, president of NAACP Richmond branch entreated the school to urgently solve this issue in a statement. He said, “The school division must conduct an unflinching examination of these disparities and adopt strategies to improve school climate and ensure that discipline policies are fair for all students.”

Racial discrimination has seemed to eat deep into the core of the American system. Not even the little children are spared from this nightmare of racial segregation. Black people seem to be the target for oppression in every sector. They are purposefully put through very challenging circumstances just to ensure that nothing good comes out of them. The Black people need a system of their own. A system they can identify with, which will develop their potentials rather than thwarting them; a system which is void of racial segregation.

Source: Time

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