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Pa. Black, Latino students disproportionately suspended from school, ACLU report finds


by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Black and Latino students are being disproportionately suspended from Pennsylvania's schools under the auspices of  "zero tolerance" provisions.

This from a new report by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which analyzed aggregate data from each of the state's 500 school districts.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Black students make up 13.6 percent of Pennsylvania's student population, but they received almost half of the out-of-school suspensions, at 48.25 percent.
  • Seventeen percent of Black students were suspended at least once, a rate five times that of White students.
  • One out of every 10 Latino students was suspended at least once, one of the highest Latino suspension rates in the country.
  • Students with disabilities were almost twice as likely as other students to receive out-of-school suspensions – 11.1 percent versus 5.7 percent.
  • Black students with disabilities received OSSs at the highest rate of any group – 22 out of every 100 were suspended at least once.

"Our report is intended to spark discussion within school communities and policy-making circles about what works best to create a healthy and safe school climate, not to point fingers," wrote the ACLU's Harold Jordan, author of the report. "A critical examination of school discipline data and discipline practices is a first step." [Disclosure: Jordan is also the chair of the Notebook board of directors.]

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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