Tag Archives: school suspension

Report: Black students more likely to be suspended

7 Aug


In Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it, moi said:


People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/who-says-black-children-cant-learn-some-schools-gets-it/


Many African American students are suspended or expelled before they complete their education.


Nirvi Shah and Lesli A. Maxwell are reporting in the Education Week article, Researchers Sound Alarm Over Black Student Suspensions:


This latest collection of civil rights data was the most expansive to date, including information that accounts for 85 percent of all public school students in the country.


Florida and Hawaii were excluded because of errors in the reported data. The study also does not provide suspension estimates for New York state because New York City’s data on suspensions are being reviewed by the office for civil rights.


This report provides the first large-scale analysis of suspension rates in public schools across all states. Previous research has flagged individual states’ records on suspension and expulsion.


The rates of suspension look starkest at the district level.


Of the nearly 6,800 districts studied by the Civil Rights Project researchers, 839 suspended at least 10 percent of their students at least once. In some districts, including Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Henrico County, Va., 18 percent or more of the students enrolled spent time out of school as a punishment. Some 200 districts sent more than 20 percent of students away at one point or another during the school year….


A report last year from the Council of State Governments Justice Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University found that more than half of students in Texas were suspended or expelled at least once between 7th and 12th grades.


Of the students tracked by the Texas study’s researchers from 7th grade through one year past when they were scheduled to be seniors, 75 percent of black students were expelled or suspended, compared with 50 percent of white students. In addition, 75 percent of students with disabilities were suspended or expelled, compared with 55 percent of students without a disability.


The problem with suspensions is simple, yet devastating, the authors say: The students—many of them already at risk for low performance or dropping out—are not in class, which leads to a litany of negative consequences.


Suspensions matter because they are among the leading indicators of whether a child will drop out of school and because out-of-school suspension increases a child’s risk for future incarceration,” they write.


The study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA recommends that states and districts be required to report suspension data, by race, each year, and that suspension rates be used to measure states’ and districts’ education performance.


The authors also want more federal enforcement of civil rights laws to address the disparities in discipline they and others have found. And federal efforts should invest more in systemic improvements to approaches to school discipline and teacher training in classroom management, they argue.


Some may hypothesize that students of color are more likely to exhibit inappropriate behavior in the classroom, said Russell Skiba, a professor at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, in Bloomington, but research doesn’t support that.


But there is evidence that African-American students are punished more severely than other students for minor infractions….


The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed civil rights complaints with the federal Education Department against five Florida districts for what it says have been discriminatory disciplinary practices against black students, compared with their white peers….


Aware of a growing chorus of voices criticizing the disproportionate rates of punishment, some states are also taking steps to change their policies. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/08/07/01zerotolerance.h32.html?tkn=TSXFDaT6vLNrcbe4GPapqynJmQgDztb66cfJ&intc=es


Here is the press release for the report:


Millions of Children Find the Schoolhouse Door Locked


Date Published: August 07, 2012


UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies Finds Shocking Suspension Rates in thousands of districts across the nation.


Related Documents



For Immediate Release

Contact  Jamal Simmons, Broderick Johnson (202) 466-8585

(Los Angeles, CA) Today, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles issued “Opportunities Suspended:  The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School,” a nationwide report based on an analysis of Federal government suspension-related data from the 2009-10 school year for grades K-12.  This first-ever breakdown of nearly 7,000 districts found that 17% of African American students nationwide received an out-of-school suspension compared to about 5% of White students.  The comparable rate for Latinos was 7%.  The data analyzed covered about 85% of the nation’s public school students.  The suspension rates were equally striking for students with disabilities and revealed that an estimated 13% of all students with disabilities were suspended nationally, approximately twice the rate of their non-disabled peers. 

The real disturbing story, however, is at the district level. This review covers school districts across the country, from every state, and it found that in nearly 200 districts, 20% or more of the total enrolled students in K-12 were suspended out of school at least once.  The numbers are more shocking when broken down by race and disability.  For all students with disabilities, regardless of race, over 400 districts suspended 25% or more of these students.  Black students with disabilities were most at risk for out-of-school suspension with an alarming 25% national average for all districts in the sample

The report breaks down suspension rates by state and race, and provides links to in-depth profiles of the suspension rates for every district in the sample. The alarmingly high suspension figures highlighted in the report are in stark contrast to the thousands of other districts in the report that suspended 3% or less of each subgroup.  The data show that numerous school districts are not suspending large numbers of children from any racial group.

“The frequent use of out-of-school suspension results in increased dropout rates and heightened risk of youth winding up in the juvenile justice system,” stated the study’s lead author Daniel J. Losen. “We know that schools can support teachers and improve learning environments for children without forcing so many students to lose valuable days of instruction. The data also show that numerous school districts are not suspending large numbers of children from any racial group. In contrast, the incredibly high numbers of students barred from school, often for the most minor infractions, defies common sense and reveals patterns of school exclusion along the lines of race and disability status that must be rejected by all members of the public school community.”

The report also reviews what research tells us about alternatives to out-of-school suspension and discusses numerous ways to respond to misbehavior that would keep children both safe and in school.
Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project, continued, “This important study confirms an unfortunate reality – minority students face the brunt of school-based discipline.  This has to end, and the report provides thoughtful guidance to help us reach that goal.”  

The report makes several recommendations to correct this disturbing trend.  These recommendations are directed to:

  • Parents:  Bring large racial, gender, and disability disparities to the attention of local and state school boards;
  • Federal and state governments:  Provide greater support for research on evidence-based and promising interventions that will reduce the use of suspensions and other harsh disciplinary measures; 
  • Educators:  Use disaggregated discipline data to guide and evaluate reform efforts; and
  • Media:  Question the justification and research basis behind discipline policies that keep large numbers of children out of school. 

To view a copy of “Opportunities Suspended:  The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School,” by Daniel Losen and Jon Gillespie, please click here. 

About the Civil Rights Project at UCLA

Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA.  Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States.  It has commissioned more than 400 studies, published 13 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. This research, conducted by the CRP’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies, was made possible with the support of Atlantic Philanthropies. The Center is dedicated to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for children from subgroups who have been discriminated against historically due to their race/ethnicity, and who are frequently subjected to exclusionary practices such as disciplinary removal, over-representation in special education, and reduced access to a college-bound curriculum.



The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important for the districts to provide resources to assist students in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face. Many children face challenges in their living situations and districts may need comprehensive social assistance to help children with living situation challenges.




Education Law Center


Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?


Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?





A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’                                                          https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/a-strategy-to-reduce-school-suspensions-school-wide-positive-behavior-support/



Single-sex classrooms should be allowed in public schools https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/single-sex-classrooms-should-be-allowed-in-public-schools/



Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/boys-of-color-resources-from-the-boys-initiative/


U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/u-s-education-dept-civil-rights-office-releases-report-on-racial-disparity-in-school-retention/


Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure                                                     https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/inappropriate-discipline-the-first-step-on-the-road-to-education-failure/


Dr. Wilda says this about that ©




A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’

1 Jul

In U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention, moi said:

One of the causalities of the decline and death of newspapers is the decline in investigative journalism. When the Seattle PI was still a print publication in 2001, they published a series of articles about discipline in the Seattle Public Schools. At that time, the list of behaviors included:

                                              1.   Disruptive conduct

                                              2.   Fighting

                                              3.   Disobedience

                                              4. .Assault

                                              5. Rule-breaking

                                              6. Alcohol/drugs

                                              7. Theft

                                              8. Trespass

                                              9.   Smoking

                                              10. Weapons

When this report was written, African American students were suspended at a higher rate than other students. The great thing about this piece of journalism was the reporters examined assumptions about what could be causing the disparity in expulsions. The assumptions about why African American students are disciplined and the statistical reality often do not provide clear-cut answers. The Seattle PI followed the report with a 2006 Update and the disparity issue remained. Perhaps, Dr. Bill Cosby is on to something with his crusade to ask tough questions about whether a “hip hop” culture is conducive to promoting success values in a population who must survive in the dominant culture. Debates about what cultural norms are healthy and should prevail are not useful to a child who is facing a suspension or expulsion and who must deal with that reality. It is imperative that children stay in school and receive a diploma or receive sufficient skills to allow them to prepare for a GED. If a child is facing a suspension or expulsion, the parent or guardian has to advocate for the child and the future placement and follow-up treatment for the child. The hard questions about placement in an education setting center on student behavior and whether the behavior of the individual child is so disruptive that the child must be removed from the school either for a period of time or permanently. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/u-s-education-dept-civil-rights-office-releases-report-on-racial-disparity-in-school-retention/ The U.S. Department of Education has developed the strategy of “School Wide Positive Behavior Support” in an attempt to lesson the number of suspensions. See, LA School Implements Positive Behavior System http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/la-school-implements-positive-behavior-system/

The Department of Education’s OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports describes “School Wide Positive Behavior Support” in School-wide Positive Behavior Support Implementers’ Blueprint and Self-Assessment1 2:

What is School-wide Positive Behavior Support?

School-wide Positive behavior support (SW-PBS) is comprised of a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior with all students. SW-PBS is not a specific “model” but a compilation of effective practices, interventions, and systems

change strategies that have a long history of empirical support and development and individually have been demonstrated to be empirically effective and efficient. In addition, SW-PBS has relevant applications to educating all students in schools, not just students with disabilities. SW-PBS is the integration of four elements

�� Operationally defined and valued outcomes,

�� Behavioral and biomedical science,

�� Research-validated practices, and

�� Systems change to both enhance the broad quality with which all students are living/learning and reduce problem behaviors.

First, SW-PBS emphasizes operationally defined and valued outcomes for all students. Specified academic and social behavior outcome indicators are linked to annual school improvement objectives, local and state initiative priorities, and individual academic goals and objectives. Data are used to describe, choose, and

evaluate goals/outcomes. Valued outcomes include increases in quality of life as defined by a school’s and/or individual student’s unique preferences and needs and by positive lifestyle changes that increase social belonging.

Second, SW-PBS is based on a clearly established behavioral and biomedical sciences that can be applied to address problem behavior in schools. The approach is based on conceptual principles from behavioral and biomedical research.

�� Behavior is learned and can be taught.

�� Behavior is lawful and predictable.

�� Behavior occurrences are affected by environmental factors that interact with biophysical characteristics of the individual.

�� Understanding the relation between physiology factors and environmental variables is a critical feature when supporting students with behavioral, social, emotional, and mental health issues.

�� Assessing and manipulating environmental factors can predictably affect occurrences of behavior.

�� Data collection and use for active decision-making are important for continuous intervention, program, and system improvement.

Third, SW-PBS emphasizes research-validated practices, interventions, strategies, curriculum, etc. to achieve goals and outcomes. Data are used to guide which practices should be selected and/or adapted to achieve goals/outcomes. The selection and use of evidence-based practices are given priority.

Fourth, SW-PBS gives priority to systems change considerations that support the effective and efficient selection and implementation of practices by school personnel (e.g., teachers, school psychologists, administrators). These organizational working considerations operationalize policies and guiding principles, operating routines, resource supports, and administrative leadership. Internal behavioral expertise and

capacity are developed, and data-based decision making is emphasized to improve the selection, adoption, outcomes, and durability of practices. Together these four elements provide schools with the opportunity to efficiently organize scarce resources and support the adoption of effective practices….http://www.osepideasthatwork.org/toolkit/pdf/SchoolwideBehaviorSupport.pdf

Robert Horner, George Sugai and Claudia Vincent write in Impact about “School Wide Positive Behavior Support.

In the article, School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Investing in Student Success, Horner, Sugai and Vincent write:

School-wide positive behavior support (SW-PBS) is an approach that begins with a school-wide prevention effort, and then adds intensive individualized support for those students with more extreme needs. SW-PBS has five core strategies:

  • Focus on preventing the development and occurrence of problem behavior, which is more effective, cost-efficient, and productive than responding after problem behavior patterns have become ingrained.
  • Teach appropriate social behavior and skills. Because children come to school from many different backgrounds, schools must define the core social expectations (e.g., be respectful, be responsible, be safe), and overtly teach the behaviors and skills associated with these expectations. When all students in the school are taught the same social skills, a social culture is established where students not only have personal knowledge about social expectations, they know that everyone in the school knows those same social expectations.
  • Acknowledge appropriate behavior. Students should receive regular recognition for appropriate behavior at rates that exceed rates of recognition for rule violations and problem behaviors. Negative consequences alone will not change problem behavior. Instead of ignoring problem behavior, a continuum of consequences (e.g., correction, warning, office discipline referral) for problem behavior should be maintained and used to prevent escalation and allow instruction to continue in class.
  • Gather and use data about student behavior to guide behavior support decisions. Data on what problem behaviors are being observed and how often, where and what time of the day they are occurring, and who is engaging in these problem behaviors enable schools to develop the most effective, efficient, and relevant school-wide behavior support plan.
  • Invest in the systems (e.g., teams, policies, funding, administrative support, data structures) that support adults in their implementation of effective practices.

Over the past six years, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has invested in technical assistance to states and districts choosing to implement SW-PBS. Over 2900 schools across 34 states are now implementing or in the process of adopting SW-PBS. Implementation is occurring primarily in elementary and middle schools, but the approach is now being adapted, applied, and studied in over 200 high schools….

  • Most schools in the U.S. are not implementing the evidence-based practices associated with SW-PBS. As part of the technical assistance process, schools have been assessed prior to adopting SW-PBS practices. On average, schools are using less than half the basic features, and none of the schools evaluated have demonstrated effective implementation prior to receiving technical assistance.
  • When technical support is provided, schools are successful in adopting the evidence-based practices associated with SW-PBS. Typically, school teams composed of five to seven individuals receive three, one- to two-day training events each year for two years. Schools throughout the country have documented the ability to adopt SW-PBS practices with high fidelity when they receive this level of support.
  • Once schools adopt SW-PBS practices to criterion they are likely to sustain those practices over long time periods. Longitudinal studies indicate that SW-PBS practices have sustained up to 10 years following implementation, even with turnover in administrators and core team members. In a recent evaluation of schools in Illinois, 86% of schools adopting SW-PBS in 2002-03 sustained or improved their level of implementation in 2003-04.
  • When SW-PBS is implemented to criterion, results indicate the following improvements in academic and social behavior outcomes: a) 20-60% reduction in office discipline referrals for students with and without Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), b) increases in the time students spend in instruction, c) decreases in the amount of time administrators and teachers spend addressing problem behaviors, and d) improvement in the perception of school safety and mental health through decreases in “risk factors” and increases in mental health “protective factors.” In addition, preliminary results indicate that SW-PBS implementation is associated with a decrease in the number of students identified for tertiary interventions because of intense support needs (Eber, 2005).
  • When investments are made in both behavior support and effective instruction, improvements in academic performance are experienced. During 2002-03, 52 elementary schools in Illinois using SW-PBS to criterion were compared with 69 schools that were just adopting SW-PBS and were not at criterion. On average, 62.19% of third graders in schools using SW-PBS met or exceeded the state reading standard. By comparison, an average of 46.6% of third graders in schools not using SW-PBS met the same standard.
  • Investing in development of local systems is an effective strategy for moving from small “demonstrations” to larger-scale applications. Implementation of SW-PBS involves not simply training for school teams, but training of a) local coaches or facilitators who work closely with teams to build and sustain evidence-based practices, and b) local trainers who are able to conduct team training on a distributed format within two years. By investing in building the capacity of local states/districts to train and evaluate SW-PBS, the cost of training the third and fourth generations of teams is reduced. External trainers and national technical assistance becomes less necessary. For example, in Illinois a state system of trainers and coaches now supports over 444 schools implementing SW-PBS. In Maryland, a state system of trainers and coaches supports over 321 schools implementing SW-PBS.
  • Implementation of SW-PBS is cost effective. Schools are able to adopt SW-PBS and establish local coaching and training infrastructure within a two-year initiative process. The cost to schools to sustain SW-PBS requires no additional dollars. This approach is about using existing resources better, not adding new costs. The cost of problem behavior in schools is a hidden drain on school resources. For example, when Kennedy Middle School implemented SW-PBS they documented improved student behavior, with an annual reduction of 850 office discipline referrals and 25 student suspensions from the pre-implementation level. This change translated into a time savings of 30 administrator days and 121 student school days.

In summary, schools will not achieve the academic standards we now require if they fail to build the positive social culture needed for sustained academic engagement. Traditional punishment and exclusionary strategies are not effective practices for improving student behavior…. http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/182/over2.html

In Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure, moi said:

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Additionally, Family First Aid discusses the education questions a parent or guardian should ask when their child has been permanently excluded from a school setting because of behavior problems. The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important to contact the district to find out what types of resources are available to assist the student in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/inappropriate-discipline-the-first-step-on-the-road-to-education-failure/


What is School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports? http://www.pbis.org/


The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/the-trauma-and-learning-policy-initiative/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’ https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©