Study: Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students

Why are black students suspended for infractions such as defiance or disrespect that white students are not? Are there no other punitive measures than suspension?

A distressing report of a new federal education analysis shows that Black students are four times as likely to be expelled from school charters as whites.

There is no doubt, this can fuel youth restiveness, higher crime rates and incarceration.

The landslide degree of inequalities and disproportionate discipline of blacks and the disabled students is not unnoticed even among black preschool pupils in charter schools.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights disclosed that disabled students are suspended two to three times the rate of able-bodied students.

Charter schools are of particular interest because on average, it suspends pupils at slightly higher rates of other public schools.

About three-quarters of all black students at Crossroads Charter School in Charlotte, N.C., were suspended in the 2011-12 session.

The operational director at the school, Adrian Sundiata, however, claimed it was now using more disciplinary measures to address infractions.

Besides, about a third of charter schools suspended more than 10 percent of black students at the elementary school level, while at the high school level, almost 40 percent of charter schools suspended one in four or more of black students enrolled that year.

African-American pupils enrolled in segregated schools were vulnerable to suspension at higher rates.

Senior staff lawyer at the National Disability Rights Network, Diane Howard, lamented the high rate of suspension of the disabled students saying: “So these are the children who manage to get in who are being suspended.”

According to Thena Robinson Mock, director of the Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Campaign sponsored by the Advancement Project, school authorities should try to solve conflicts that lead to suspension.

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