Black Preschool Students More Likely to Be Suspended Than Their Peers

Black students account for 42% of U.S. preschool students suspended once and 48% of students suspended more than once.

Although black students only make up 18% of U.S. preschool enrollment, they account for 42% of preschool students suspended once and 48% of students suspended more than once.

This is according to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection, which was released on Friday.

Previous studies have highlighted that minorities and students with disabilities in K-12 are more likely to be suspended. A report released by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles found that in the 2009-2010 school year for grades K-12, 17% of African American students nationwide received an out-of-school suspension while about 5% of White students were suspended. The suspension rate for Latinos was 7%, while the rate for students with disabilities was 13%.

The latest data indicates schools’ proclivity for suspending minority students and specifically black students starts before they even reach kindergarten.

Civil rights advocates say that overly zealous school discipline policies targeting black and Hispanic students are responsible for the “school-to-prison” pipeline.

In January, Attorney General Eric Holder provided new non-binding guidelines on how students should be punished for misbehavior. The recommendations encourage schools to ensure that all school personnel are trained in classroom management, conflict resolution and approaches to de-escalate classroom disruptions. School security and police officers should also develop relationships with students and parents, and receive training.

The report also highlighted the following trends:

– Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander kindergarten students are nearly twice as likely to be held back a year as white kindergarten students.
– One in five high schools nationwide don’t have a school counselor, but in Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, North Dakota and New Hampshire, more than 95% of high schools provide students access to a counselor.
– Our nation is experiencing the highest high school graduation rate in history, and an increasing number of students, especially students of color, are going to college.

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