Black D.C. Students Suspended, Expelled Much More Than Their White Peers

To anyone who believes we live in a "post-racial" society, I present this:

In Washington area, African American students suspended and expelled two to five times as often as whites

Across the Washington area, black students are suspended and expelled two to five times as often as white students, creating disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem.

An analysis by The Washington Post shows the phenomenon both in the suburbs and in the city, from the far reaches of Southern Maryland to the subdivisions of Fairfax, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Last year, for example, one in seven black students in St. Mary’s County were suspended from school, compared with one in 20 white students. In Alexandria, black students were nearly six times as likely to be suspended as their white peers.

As that article's lede suggests, the problem isn't relegated to the D.C. area. Indeed, similar concerns around the country recently prompted the Education and Justice Departments to launch an effort to examine the "school-to-prison pipeline."

As for the question of "why," the Post notes that "A disproportionate number of black students live below the poverty line or with a single parent, factors that affect disciplinary patterns. But experts say those factors do not fully explain racial differences in suspensions. Other contributing factors could include unintended bias, unequal access to highly effective teachers and differences in school leadership styles."

Read more about the Post's investigation here.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at December 29, 2011, 5:30am

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