Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: Disabled Students Suspended at Higher Rates; Report Faults Florida on Black Student Suspensions; California Focusing on Minority Boys’ Health, Education

Compiled by Rachel Barr, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Suspensions Are Higher for Disabled Students, Federal Data Indicate

Motoko Rich
The New York Times

New research by the US Department of Education shows that the percentage of students suspended from school is disproportionately higher for disabled students. The percentage for disabled students of color is even more staggering. Not only does suspension limit the number of hours a student is in a classroom learning, but suspended students are more likely to drop out and be incarcerated in the future. Civil rights leaders are concerned that the students needing the most attention and help in school are the ones being disproportionately removed from classrooms.

Civil rights group blasts Florida for higher suspension rate of black students

Scott Travis
Sun Sentinel

Civil rights groups in Florida have recently become enraged over the disproportionate suspension rates of black students. While Black students represent 38 percent of the school population in Broward County, they represent 58 percent of suspensions, a number higher than suspension rates of White and Hispanic students. Similar disparities can be seen in other counties throughout Florida. The rates of expulsions and arrests are also higher for Black students. Advocates argue that these policies are limiting black students’ chances of success in the future and they argue that non-discriminatory policies need to be developed.

Policies proposed to boost boys of color

Marisa Lagos
San Francisco Chronicle

A state legislative committee in California has suggested that programs be developed, which include extending health care coverage for kids who are too old for foster care and making it more difficult to suspend and expel students, in an attempt to help boys of color. These recommendations are in light of information that minority students are more likely to be unhealthy, suspended, and ultimately incarcerated. Nineteen additional bills are being endorsed by this committee. The committee and its efforts are being led by Assemblyman Swanson.