Discipline rate of black students in Del., elsewhere is probed
Nichole Dobo, USA Today | October 17, 2010
WILMINGTON, Del. — The U.S. Department of Education‘s office of civil rights is investigating whether black male students are punished disproportionately in theChristina School District in Wilmington andNewark, one of five districts nationwide under scrutiny for its discipline record.
Federal investigators are in the process of visiting all of Christina’s schools and have requested detailed discipline data for at least the last two academic years.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan first mentioned districts were being investigated at a conference in late September hosted by the Department of Education’s civil rights office and the Department of Justice’s civil rights division. Besides Delaware, the school districts under review are in New York, North Carolina, Utah and Minnesota.
One of the other districts, the San Juan School District in rural Utah, is being investigated for alleged gender disparities without respect to race or ethnicity, according to a school official.
Christina district officials acknowledged that a disparity exists in the discipline rates for black male students that they are working to correct, according to district spokeswoman Wendy Lapham. She added that the district has been cooperating with the federal investigation.
Statewide, black students made up about 32% of the public school population last year, but they accounted for about 55% of students who were suspended or expelled, according to an analysis by The News Journal published in June that compared discipline statistics provided by the state to school enrollments. (Read the full article)