By Mario Ayala
A study recently released by The Center For Civil Rights Remedies talks about suspension rates in middle schools and high schools in United States. Shockingly, 2 million students were suspended in the 2009-2010 school year. That is one out of every nine students, and most of these suspensions were for minor infractions.
This is a big concern for the United States and also for Sacramento City Unified School District, which has a suspension rate of 17% compared to the national suspension rate of 12%. To put it into a more local perspective let’s compare Hiram Johnson High School and C.K. McClatchy High School.
Hiram Johnson had an enrollment of 2,153 students and they suspended 724 students for a 33% percent suspension rate. Of those 724 suspensions, 404 were because of minor infractions such as disrupting class or tardiness. Suspension for this kind of behavior, commonly referred to as “willful defiance”, is ultimately a decision made by the teacher and administrator, and many believe is hardly ever a reason to suspend students.
Out of those 724 suspended students, Hispanics and Blacks make up around 70% of suspensions, while Whites only make up 8.5% of the school suspensions. That means 7 out 10 suspensions are either towards Blacks or Hispanic students, with not even 1 being towards Whites.
C.K. McClatchy has an enrollment of 2,198 students and they suspended 226 students for a 12.1% suspension rate. Of those 226 suspensions 136 were for minor infractions or “willful defiance”.
Of those 226 students suspended, Hispanics and Blacks again made up 70%. Whites were 15.6% and Asians 4.4%. This school only has 174 Black students which is 7% of the total school enrollment, but they account for 26.7% of the schools total suspensions; the combined suspension rates of Whites, Asians, Natives and Pacific islanders. Also consider that C.K. McClatchy kicks students out who are academically not doing well, so this accounts for the low suspension number and rate.
None of the numbers mentioned above were for serious behavior or criminal actions, because that would lead to expulsions. Both schools had no expulsions.
Those are shocking numbers considering the fact that the dropout rate in United States is 16%. Also, a recent study shows that if a student gets suspended just once in their first year of high school the odds that he or she will drop out goes up to 32%.
In the 2009-2010 school year, the Sacramento City Unified School District issued 8,047 suspensions, and around 5,600 were towards Hispanics and Blacks, and more than half those 5,600 were because of “willful defiance.”
This should be of grave concern to everyone, considering how suspensions lead to dropouts which leads to no jobs which ultimately lead to students ending up in jail as adults.