Eric Holder Calls Texas Suspensions of Black Students A ‘Wake-up Call’

Julianne Hing, Colorlines | July 26, 2011

Last week came troubling news about the impact of zero tolerance policies in schools when the Justice Center at the Council of State Governments released findings from a six-year study that showed that nearly sixty percent of Texas public school students had been expelled or suspended at least one time between their seventh and twelfth grades of school. The report also found that in Texas, as in the rest of the country, black and Latino students were punished at higher rates than their non-black and Latino classmates.

On Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder responded to the findings, calling the report a “wake-up call,” Education Week reported.

The study found, for example, that 83 percent of black males had at least one disciplinary action on their record which ended with them being removed from school. Seventy percent of Latino males had been similarly disciplined at least once, though 59 percent of white males had the same record. The study found that 70 percent of black female students had been disciplined, though just 37 percent of white female students had been, often for identical offenses.

Over the course of the study, one million students were suspended or expelled, and those students who were disciplined this way were also more likely to drop out or have to repeat a grade of school.  (Read more)