School Climate & Safety

Report Finds Suspension Disparities in Ky.

By Darcia Harris Bowman — March 05, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Kentucky schools suspend students far too often—especially black students, who are booted from school two to 17 times as often as whites in some districts, a report concludes.

The study found that the state’s 176 districts doled out a combined 68,000 suspensions in the 2000-01 school year, up from about 65,500 such punishments the previous year.

The report, “Unintended Consequences: The Impact of ‘Zero Tolerance’ and Other Exclusionary Policies on Kentucky Students,” February 2003, is available from Building Blocks for Youth. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The authors did not include the total number of black students suspended in each of those academic years. But they said a review of individual districts showed that African-Americans, more often than whites were the students disciplined under such policies.

“Unintended Consequences: The Impact of ‘Zero Tolerance’ and Other Exclusionary Policies on Kentucky Students” was released late last month by Spalding University’s National Institute on Children, in Louisville, and the Children’s Law Center, in Covington, Ky.

Among other consequences, the report’s authors argue that schools’ widespread use of suspension feeds a growing disparity in school performance between the state’s black and white students.

Zero Tolerance

“Zero-tolerance policies seem to be a backdoor way of getting rid of certain student populations,” said co-author David Richart, the director of the National Institute on Children. “When policies send a message to African-American youth that they are disposable and less valuable, it’s no wonder that Kentucky is struggling with a dramatic achievement gap.”

The authors say their findings are consistent with recent national studies on the impact of zero-tolerance policies.

But Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said the report’s characterization of the state’s rate of school suspensions as an overuse of zero-tolerance policies was misleading. Only two districts in the state, he said, have true zero- tolerance policies, which call for expulsion—not suspension—for students who commit certain infractions.

“We obviously do believe that in most cases, suspensions are meted our fairly,” Mr. Hughes added, “but if a district sees its African-American 8th graders are being suspended more often than its white 8th graders, they should probably look into it.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Seamless Integrations for Engagement in the Classroom
Learn how to seamlessly integrate new technologies into your classroom to support student engagement. 
Content provided by GoGuardian
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety How to Spend $1 Billion in School Safety Funds: Here's What the Feds Recommend
A "Dear Colleague" letter from the Education Department puts a priority on creating inclusive, equitable school environments.
4 min read
The U.S. Department of Education urged schools to use federal funds to support the social, emotional, mental, and physical health needs of students in a "dear colleague" letter sent Sept. 15.
Third grader Alexis Kelliher points to her feelings while visiting a sensory room at Williams Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel/AP
School Climate & Safety A Pair of Retired Military Officers Makes a Case Against Arming Teachers
Their comments come on a call organized by a national teachers' union pushing back against the school safety strategy.
3 min read
A man in a black polo shirt with short sleeves holds up a hand gun in front of a projector screen that shows a diagram of a gun with labeled parts.
Clark Aposhian, president of Utah Shooting Sport Council, holds a pistol during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers, in West Valley City, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP
School Climate & Safety 'Cruel Prank' Led to Panic, Lockdown at Florida High School
A shooting scare was a “cruel prank" carried out by two groups of students who face criminal charges and possible expulsion, police said.
1 min read
Chain link fence and school building.
E+/Getty
School Climate & Safety Opinion A World With Truly Safe Schools Is Possible
Human rights education can help end school shootings. Here’s how.
Rebecca Stephens
5 min read
Image of a chalk heart on a cracked pavement.
Laura Baker/Education Week and iStock/Getty