by Darwin Campbell
An alarming report has been released by the government that shows Black students are more likely targets for school discipline, suspensions and arrests than any other students in our nation’s schools.
The report should be a wake-up call to African-American parents and community leaders that it is time for them to get serious about being involved and demanding accountability from superintendents, school boards and principals when it comes to our children.
The report, provided by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, is a compilation of Civil Rights Data Collection on school discipline that covers every school in the nation. The report provides information on school discipline, suspensions, expulsions, seclusions and restraints in nearly every school in Texas and across the United States.
It is a sobering snapshot that provides insight into the attitudes towards Black children and what goes on behind the closed doors of every school when it comes to actions against our children.
African-American News and Issues will provide a basic breakdown of the report as it relates to African-American children, but in coming weeks will breakdown with community leaders and experts more details about issues, needs and solutions dealing with Texas schools districts that do not make the grade on discipline.
Some of the details that should send red flags that indicate that Black children have targets on their backs and are victims of the stereotypes provided in society, education and media that lower expectations and opinions about them.
One of the saddest portion of the snapshot reveals how the stereotypes and harassment of Black children starts as low as the preschool level, where discipline of Black children reaches all-time lows.
According to the report, for the first time in the CRDC of preschool data, it confirms that discipline begins in the earliest years of schooling.
Racial disparities start early with in and out-of-school suspensions among preschoolers also starting early. Of those getting pinched by schools, black children represent the most cases of kids being targeted. Black children make up 18-percent of total preschool enrollment, but a whopping 42-percent of the preschool children are suspended once, and 48-percent of the preschool children suspended more than once. Only 26-percent of White preschoolers were issued discipline.
Suspension and Expulsions
The study also revealed that African-American students have a suspension an expulsion rate that White.
A breakdown showed that Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate (3X’s) three times greater than white students. On average, only 5-percent of white students are suspended, compared to 16-percent of black students.
While African-American boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, black girls were not missed in the survey also being suspended at higher rates than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys. Black boys and girls have higher suspension rates than any of their peers. Twenty percent (20-percent) of black boys and more than 12-percent of black girls receive an out-of-school suspension.
Arrests and referrals to Law Enforcement
Police encounters for African-American students are prevalent in public schools systems.
While black students represent 16-percent of student enrollment, they represent 27-percent of students referred to law enforcement and 31-percent of students subjected to and experiencing a school-related arrests. Some Texas urban and suburban area school districts around the state had higher incidents of police involvement and arrests for Black children compared to other areas of similar size around the country.
Discipline actions against Black youth are disproportionate compared to any other groups in the reports.
Inequality is a very real challenge to African-American children trying to get and education in the public school system.
Education is a game changer and without it, it is hard to compete in this 21st Century economy.
This reports raises real questions about how difficult it is for Black children to get a good education barring the obstacles they currently face.
What makes it more difficult is more and more African-American children are struggling to find their place and purpose and the education system.
It is apparent that the education system in Texas and across the country has not been friendly enough to get the message across that African-American children that getting a complete education is far better than dropping out of school.
We must understand that we must demand accountability and balance the scales of education and demand the kind of equality that guarantees Black children equal access to the best teachers and role models that look like us. Parents and community leaders must also demand the same resources in our neighborhood schools that richer, suburban schools enjoy.
We hold the key to demanding a school system based on fairness, equality and free of the intimidations of harsh punishments and unbalanced disciplinary acts on the part of school administrators and police that turn our children into wards of the state and line them up for the criminal justice system over college.
We are responsible to change the current course and make sure Black children can develop to full potential.
The power is in our hand to demand better and support every child and make sure each youth sees value in education.
It is time to step up. Too many of our Black children are going to school with targets on their backs.
We do not want to be the one’s responsible for allowing any Black child’s skills to go to waste any longer.