Report: Minority Students Face Harsher Punishments

A Department of Education report raises questions about whether all races are disciplined evenhandedly in America's schools.

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The Associated Press is reporting that more than 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or cases referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or African American, according to an Education Department report.

The report raises fresh questions about the fairness of discipline meted out in the nation’s public schools. From the Associated Press:

Black students are more than three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended or expelled, according to an early snapshot of the report released to reporters, the AP reports. The findings come from a national collection of civil rights data from 2009-10 of more than 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation.

The Education Department said it would release more details Tuesday.

"The sad fact is that minority students across America face much harsher discipline than non-minorities, even within the same school," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters.

Duncan said some school officials might not have been aware of inconsistencies in how they handle discipline, and he hoped the report would be an eye-opener.

According to the report, 42 percent of the referrals to law enforcement involve black students and 29 percent involved Hispanics, while 35 percent of students involved in school-related arrests were black and 37 percent were Hispanic ...

We hope that this report will challenge educators to find new ways to address the discipline gap so that our children can receive educations instead of expulsions and suspensions that can cripple their academic careers.

Read more at the Associated Press.

Update: The Root covers the details of the Department of Education report here.