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

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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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