Black Students in Handcuffs: Addressing Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline for Students with Dis/abilities
by Dorothy E. Hines, Robb King Jr. & Donna Ford - 2018
Although there are federal protections for students with dis/abilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1975, Black students with and without dis/abilities continue to be suspended and expelled at rates that exceed their peers. Still, there is limited research on how Black girls and Black boys are disciplined across suspension types, and based on their identification for special education services. The purpose of this article is to examine the overrepresentation of Black girls and Black boys with and without dis/abilities and to determine, using a quantifiable percentage, how the overrepresentation of Black students for in-school and out-of-school suspension can be eradicated. We use data from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection 2011–2012 to examine equity (justice and fairness) in disciplinary referrals using state-by-state and regional data. Using an equity formula, we analyzed national data to determine the magnitude of Black females’ and Black males’ overrepresentation in in-school and out-of-school suspensions for students with and without dis/abilities. This study indicates that Black females with dis/abilities had the highest rate of overrepresentation in the Midwest in in-school and out-of-school suspension. In comparison, Black males experienced a greater representation in in-school suspension. Regardless of geographic area Black girls and Black boys are continuously being overrepresented in disciplinary punishments. To end the overrepresentation of Black girls and Black boys in in-school and out-of-school suspensions, schools and policy makers must collaborate with communities of color, eliminate teacher implicit and explicit racial biases, and discontinue racially punitive school policies.
To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below: