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.]