According to a new Government Accountability Office study that focused on the Department of Education civil rights data and found some troubling trends. The GAO found black students are with respect to discipline black students are overrepresented, which means black children are punished more severely and more frequently than white students. “These disparities were widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended.” explained the report.
For instance, the GAO reports white kids were underrepresented and black kids were overrepresented in every level of discipline. Black students were most overrepresented in the areas that allow school officials to arrest, kick out or suspend black children — out of school suspension, corporal punishment and school-related arrests.
Black students, boys, and students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) in K-12 public schools, according to GAO’s analysis of Department of Education (Education) national civil rights data for school year 2013-14, the most recent available.
These disparities were widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended. For example, Black students accounted for 15.5 percent of all public school students, but represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school—an overrepresentation of about 23 percentage points
The GAO found black children still receive harsher punishments at schools where there was nearly zero poverty. Black children are punished more severely with harsher punishments at public schools, charter schools, and all other alternative schools. Regardless of where a child attends if they are black, the students received harsher punishments.
- Black students made up a minority of the population in schools with around 15.5% but, represented 39% of students being suspended.
- Black boys represented 27% of students who receive corporal punishment as a form of discipline.
You can read the GAO report here.