Race—but not whether a student is enrolled in special education—appears to be a driver of disproportionate suspension rates, finds a new study in the Journal of School Psychology.
Black students overall received twice as many suspensions by the end of 8th grade as otherwise similar white peers, it found. But being in special education was not linked to having a higher rate of suspension after controlling for other factors.
Students in certain disability categories, such as emotional and behavior disturbance or speech and language impairment, were not at increased risk of suspension. Also, the study found students with disabilities who are black or Hispanic were not suspended more frequently than students with disabilities who are white.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2019 edition of Education Week as School Discipline