WASHINGTON – Data released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights finds that Black students in the United States continue to be restrained, suspended and arrested at higher rates than all other students. The findings, a result from a national survey of all public schools during the 2015–2016 School year, reports that 31 percent of Black students were referred to law enforcement or arrested in school, but only made up 15 percent of student enrollment. Black male students accounted for 25 percent of students who received an out-of-school suspension, but represented only 8 percent of enrolled students. Black female students accounted for 14 percent of those who were suspended, while representing only 8 percent of student enrollment.
“The facts are in black and white for all to see: racism is alive and well in our American school system and school policing and zero-tolerance policies condoned by schools should be re-examined, re-evaluated and repealed,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project’s national office. “This data clearly shows that Black students are less safe, more restrained and pushed out of school more than other students.”
The school safety issue brief includes survey results from 17,337 school districts, 96,360 schools and 50.6 million students from across the country. Data was collected in the following categories: serious offenses; law enforcement referrals and school-related arrests; harassment or bullying; restraint and seclusion; and school discipline.
“The U.S. Department of Education has highlighted the continuing disparities, but it must go further. We need to see the Department of Education commit to the vigorous defense of students’ right to be free from discriminatory school discipline. Policymakers and school districts have the information needed to end this cycle and commit to creating safe, equitable school environments that do not flood the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Browne Dianis. “As a national civil rights organization that has worked on education justice issues for over decade, we will continue to support parents, students and educators in campaigns to eliminate racial discipline disparities and dismantle institutional racism within the nation’s public schools.”
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