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The New Jim Crow – The Paper Bag Test and School Suspensions

Not really surprised about the stats on how minority children are expelled at rates from 3-15 times greater than white kids. That seems par for the course depending on educational district and mindset. And with School “Resource” Officers arresting black and Hispanic kids at double digit rates higher than white kids – that follows pretty much with the police criminalization of minority youth.

What is interesting is within the minority groups – Who is expelled. It hearkens back to the Jim Crow days.

Guess who gets expelled…

Lessons in Brutality

It’s shocking to watch a black student violently arrested in school. What is more shocking is how common it is.

…Since 1995, juvenile incarceration has dropped by more than 40 percent. In the same time frame, however, out-of-school suspensions have increased 10 percent, doubling the total from 1970. As reporters Dara Lind and Libby Nelson explain for Vox, this stems from several trends.

The crime waves of the 1980s and early 1990s sparked deep concern in schools across the country. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Gun-Free Schools Act, which mandated specific penalties for carrying weapons in schools. Zero tolerance was national policy, and school districts devised their own codes meant to stop minor incidents before they blossomed into major ones, a public school analogue to the “broken windows” policies in places like New York City. What’s more, crime fears—as well as the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado—led to more police officers in schools as well: The number of “school resource officers” increased 38 percent to more than 13,000 in 2007, up from 9,446 in 1997…

In public school districts around the country, arrests have increased with the presence of school resource officers, even as juvenile crime rates have decreased. Even adjusting for poverty—which tends to correlate with safety—the total arrest rate in schools with officers was almost three times the rate for schools without them. “About 92,000 students were arrested in school during the 2011–2012 school year,” notes Vox. “And most of those were low-level violations.”

As is often true, from the war on drugs to mass incarceration, the brunt of this punitive policy falls hardest on black and Latino Americans. From 1972 to 2010, the school suspension rate for whites in middle and high school climbed from 6 percent to 7.1 percent. For Latinos it climbed from 6.1 to 12 percent. For blacks it more than doubled from 11.8 percent to 24.3 percent…

In 2007, 70 percent of in-school arrests were of black and Latino students. Overall,according to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students, 16 percent versus 5 percent. This is true for all ages: “Black children,” notes the DOE, “represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension.” White students, by contrast, “represent 43 percent of preschool enrollment but 26 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension.” Students of color with disabilities are also more likely to be restrained or suspended: Black students constitute 21 percent of all students with disabilities, but 44 percent of those subject to mechanical restraints.

In some states, suspension rates are almost unbelievable. In the 2011–2012 school year, Missouri suspended 14.4 percent of its black elementary students, compared with just 1.8 percent of its white students. Florida suspended 5.1 percent of its elementary students and 19 percent of its middle and high school students. And Wisconsin suspended a mind-blowing 34 percent of all enrolled black students in a single year.

It should be said that, echoing the incident at Spring Valley High School, black girls—and dark-skinned black girls in particular—are disproportionately punished in schools. “Black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and more than girls of any other race or ethnicity,” writes the New York Times, adding that “black girls with the darkest skin tones were three times more likely to be suspended than black girls with the lightest skin.”

You might look at this and wonder if it’s behavior. Do black and Latino students act worse than white ones? Do black girls behave worse than white ones? The answer is no. “Despite higher rates of school suspensions for black, latino, and Native American students, there appear to be few racial differences in the offenses most likely to lead to zero tolerance policy violations,” write researchers at Indiana University. Instead, these students are referred for less serious and more subjective offenses.

In general, notes the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, “Research suggests that when given an opportunity to choose among several disciplinary options for a relatively minor offense, teachers and school administrators often choose more severe punishment for black students than for white students for the same offense.” In fact, according to one study of Texas schools, 97 percent of suspensions were the choice of administrators, as only 3 percent of students had broken rules that required such punishment. But the weight of those discretionary suspensions fell on black students—they were 31 percent more likely to be suspended, even controlling for a host of other variables.

At all ages, black students are perceived as more dangerous and unruly. And to that point, at least one analysis shows that teachers hold lower expectations of black and Latino children compared with their white peers. When mixed with zero-tolerance discipline and school police officers, you have a recipe for wide disparities in treatment. A 2011 study of North Carolina schools from the National Education Policy Center found that 32 percent of black students were suspended for first-time offense of cellphone use at school, compared with just 15 percent of white students. For a first-time offense of public display of affection, almost 43 percent of accused black students were suspended, compared with about 15 percent of white students…Read the whole article here

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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