The ACLU today issued a report that stated in all school districts across Rhode Island, black and Hispanic students are suspended at higher rates then white students.
The report, "Blacklisted: Racial Bias in School Suspensions in Rhode Island," found that over twelve thousand students lose more than 54,000 school days each year to suspensions. The violations tend to be low-risk behavioral infractions.
According to the report, black high school students are twice as likely as white high school students to be suspended, and a black elementary school student is six times as likely to be suspended then a white elementary student. A Hispanic elementary school student is also three times more likely to be suspended than a white student.
ACLU Policy Associate Hillary Davis, author of the report, said today, "out-of-school suspensions are used too often to punish infractions that in no way justify the long-term consequences that suspensions carry. For minority students, reconsideration of the use of out-of-school suspensions is particularly critical."
The report recommended school districts to examine annually their discipline rates, apply suspensions only when necessary to protect the safety of others or when other attempts to correct behavior have failed, along with other measures to ensure students receive equal treatment in regard to discipline.
The RI ACLU said they hope "that by bringing these significant disparities to light, school districts statewide will re-examine their own suspension practices and rates and make positive changes assuring equal and fair treatment for all students."