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Study Finds Equity Gap in School Suspensions

Study Finds Equity Gap In School Suspensions

School suspensions have been scrutinized for some time now, and researchers continue to find flaws in accepted discipline practices.

A recent Atlantic article looks at one particular student, Tiambrya Jenkins, who was transferred to an alternative school after having a fight with a white classmate, the article said.

"Her white classmate was allowed to return to their original school after 90 days," the article said. "But Jenkins spent the rest of the year at the transitional academy, a place she describes as more like a prison than school."

When Jenkins returned two years later, she felt "hopelessly behind" the article said. "Once a top math student, she'll be lucky to achieve a passing mark in advanced algebra this year."

"I don't even know what we're learning," she said in the article. "The teachers, she'll be teaching something, and I don't even know what it is. I just see a bunch of numbers on the board."

Jenkins, the article said, "is not alone in her experience", for a recent report conducted by the National Women's Law Center found that "African-American girls were suspended at six times the rate of white girls, and more than any other group of girls (several groups of boys). This is, the article continued, "despite evidence that African-American students do not misbehave more frequently than their peers."

"There's this widespread misperception that girls—all girls—are successful in schools. Full stop," said Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center. "Much of this is fueled by not having data broken down by race and gender. Girls of color end up being invisible too often in these conversations."

In 2010, the article said, "one-third [34 percent] of African-American girls didn't graduate from high school on time. Only 18 percent of white female students and 22 percent of all female students could say the same."

"My whole life has been affected by a fight that I was in when I was 14," Jenkins said. "It's not something that you can take back and not something that was premeditated, and I still have to deal with the consequences every day."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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