African-American students in schools across the United States reportedly receive harsher punishments than white students.
The Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection revealed information from the 2015-2016 school years on more than 96,000 public schools. The data showed black, Hispanic male and American Indian students are subject to harsher punishments than their peers.
The punishments include school-based arrests, referrals to law enforcement, suspension and expulsion. In the year 2015-2016, a total of 291,000 such arrests and referrals occurred — the figure showed a 5,000 increase as compared to two earlier years.
Similarly, the amount of arrests made on black students in the school year also increased. Black students made up to 15 percent of students enrolled in public school and 31 percent arrests. Two years earlier, the arrest percentage was 27.
Students with disabilities also faced similar situation. They also faced arrests and higher rates of expulsion and suspension as compared to their peers. They accounted for 12 percent of student body and 28 percent of arrests.
In 2014, former President Barrack Obama’s administration issued school discipline policy that was aimed at curbing suspensions and expulsions.
However, despite the numbers and need to introduce measures to curb arrests, the Trump administration is planning to eliminate the Obama-era policy.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with groups to discuss possible repealing of the Obama-era guidance that asks schools to reduce the use of harsh disciplinary actions.
The Obama-era guidance has garnered fans and critics over the years. Advocates of the guidance say it is imperative for the federal government to voice their concerns about student safety and deal with disciplinary bias in schools. Reportedly, harsh schools discipline has a much more long-lasting effect on students. Suspended students are more likely to drop out of schools and end up in the criminal justice system. The guidance is designed to combat this practice.
However, critics think otherwise.
According to them, reliance on counseling means allowing possibly dangerous students in the classroom and potentially risking the safety of other students.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Ammar Awad