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Legal Aid adds to civil rights complaint against Durham schools

Posted August 22, 2013

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— Legal Aid of North Carolina and other groups have filed a supplement to a complaint two months ago in which they claim Durham Public Schools ha discriminatory discipline practices against minorities and disabled students.

The June 20 complaint alleges that the school district suspends black students at more than four times the rate of white students – often for minor, non-violent behavior.

The supplement, submitted Thursday by Legal Aid's Advocates for Children's Services to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, includes the case of an 8-year-old student with oppositional defiant disorder suspended at least 10 times, for a total of 17 days, over the past two years and "unofficially suspended" on at least 10 other occasions, which were not properly documented.

The student, who has the cognitive capacity to do well, ACS said in the supplement, has seen a steady decline in his grades since kindergarten and that his reading level, once above average, has fallen below the expected level.

The supplement also includes suspension data for the 2011-2012 school year, which wasn't available when ACS filed its complaint in June.

It shows that black students, representing more than half of the student population in Durham Public Schools, received 78.4 percent of all short-term suspensions and 77 percent of all long-term suspensions while white students received 5.3 percent of short-term suspensions and 8.2 percent of long-term suspensions. White students constitute 20.6 percent of the student population.

Chrissy Pearson, chief communications officer for Durham Public Schools, said in a statement Thursday that the school system is cooperating with the Office of Civil Rights.

"In the meantime, DPS remains committed to treating each of our students as individuals – with personalized learning and tools to address individual behaviors," Pearson said.

She went on to say that schools are continuing to work to reduce suspension rates and look for "positive alternatives" to make sure students receive the best education possible.

17 Comments

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  • fedora Aug 23, 2013

    Students are suspended from school due to their race, it's due to their actions. If the white, Indian and Hispanic students acted just like the african-american students the numbers would be about the same across the board. The biggest difference is how the students respond to being called down in class. If all the students started swinging their arms, shouting out loud "I didn't do nothing, what did I do? you don't tell me what to do" we would have disorder every day in classrooms across the state. Parents need to held responsible for their students actions, but instead everyone else has to tolerate their actions. Why should I be punished because of their actions.

  • cbuckyoung Aug 23, 2013

    Legal Aid gets taxpayer money. Cut off funding to legal aid if they want to be a wing of the leftist Democratic Party.

  • ginlee00 Aug 23, 2013

    Maybe this is because most of the discipline problems are caused by these minority students.

  • 426X3 Aug 23, 2013

    Once again let's use the minority excuse.

  • westernwake1 Aug 23, 2013

    This complaint is absurd. These students are suspended because they do no behave properly - not due to their race. If a white student behaved the same way as these minority students then they would also be suspended.

    It all comes back to setting proper behavior expectations and parental responsibility. If a student disrupts school then they need to be suspended - we need to stop tolerating unacceptable behavior in the classroom.

  • tharris012 Aug 23, 2013

    This is such bull.. The numbers in Durham speak volumes. Look at the homicides that have committed in this year... Who have been charged with these crimes? The parents to these same children who are causing problems in our public school system.I see a pattern... Something must be done. Where is Rev. Barbour and the NAACP in all of this? The facts speak for themselves.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 23, 2013

    "Lets check the facts across the USA: According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education released in March 2012, blacks make up 18 percent of the country’s public schools, yet they accounted for 35 percent of students suspended at least once and 39 percent of students expelled. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice reports that 58 percent of the young people in state prisons are African Americans."

    Simply quoting STATS means nothing. The FACTS needed to come out ARE, did these people commit acts that resulted in the punishment they received? You will find that the ANSWER to that question that everyone chooses to ignore is YES. But the victim hood types just want to continue committing to the same foolish stuff that is destroying the lives of millions of blacks. It is a shame because everywhere anyone cares to look blacks are highly successful and the majority of them as with all races are perfectly capable of succeeding. Sadly even the president preaches victim to th

  • dcatz Aug 23, 2013

    I went to Durham Public Schools. I went to a school that was 90% black. As a white male, I endured constant racism on their part.

    I know exactly why more blacks are suspended and it has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with the gangster culture and the fact that liberalism has destroyed the black family by convincing black females that a welfare check is preferable to a man.

    It is time to start owning up and taking responsibility. Segregation was 50 years ago. Most people from that era were either too young to remember it or aren't even alive any more. Certainly, none of the students in the schools were alive. Stop blaming whites and start taking responsibility for your own actions.

  • lprop Aug 23, 2013

    As long as the adults in this country continues to relive the past the youth will never go forward. Yes there are children with disabilities that need special attention so seperate that from the trouble makers and go forward. Everytime a minority committs an act that punishment is necessary then a non minority needs to committ the same act. Then you could send them home together. WOULD THIS MAKE THE ADULTS HAPPY? Probably not. Trouble makers don't come in color but do come in numbers.

  • Just the facts mam Aug 23, 2013

    Lets check the facts across the USA:
    According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education released in March 2012, blacks make up 18 percent of the country’s public schools, yet they accounted for 35 percent of students suspended at least once and 39 percent of students expelled. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice reports that 58 percent of the young people in state prisons are African Americans.

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