Racial Disparity In School Discipline

The Obama Administration recently issues new guidelines on discipling children in the classroom.  These recommendations were made in an attempt to protect the civil rights of students and address the school discipline policies that appeared to target minorities.  The Justice Department issues a news release stating that significant numbers of students miss class due to suspensions and expulsions for minor infractions, and that student of color and with disabilities were disproportionately impacted.  Attorney General Eric Holder stated that many students were suspended, expelled or arrested for minor infractions such as school uniform violations and schoolyard fights.  He added that students of color and those with disabilities often received more severe punishment than others.  Students with disabilities, despite making up about 12 percent of students in the United States, also make up almost 20 percent of those suspended and almost 25 percent of those arrested for a school-related infraction.  The new guidelines were aimed at providing information on what districts can do to improve student engagement and student-teacher relations to reduce disparity in punishment.