Black students suspended, expelled more than peers

According to a new study published by the University of Pennsylvania, black students make up nearly 40 percent of students suspended in Florida.

“The study details how black students in 13 Southern states receive school punishments disproportionate to their enrollments. In Florida, for example, black youngsters make up 23 percent of the public school population but 39 percent of those suspended.”

That number, unfortunately, matches with the trend of how many black men and women are sent to prison. Making up just 13 percent of the population, people of color make-up about 60 percent of the nation’s prison population. The school-to-prison pipeline is real, even if it is uncomfortable to admit. There IS a correlation between the way behavior issues are treated in our P-12 schools and the people in our prisons.

The Sentencing Project projects that 1 in 3 black men will likely see the inside of a prison cell at some point in their lives.

If that trend continues, suspending more black students will nudge them towards a path of incarceration.

But the study notes that black students are suspended and expelled more due to “unfair discipline practices” and appearing as “disrespectful or threatening.”

While the numbers for the state are bad, it gets worse in Orange County. Making up just 27 percent of the county’s public school population, black students represents 51 percent of the students suspended.

It’s much easier to learn while at school than away from it, and if schools are placing an unfair and undue burden of punishment on black students, our future workforce will suffer because of it.

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