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Group: Suspension Rates Among Black Students Not Improving

Posted August 4, 2007
Updated August 5, 2007

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— Traditional schools will be back in session in a few weeks, but one Wake County group is targeting parents now.

They’re concerned that suspension rates among black students aren’t improving. As advocates focus on parents, educators are looking for new ways to teach.

Delphine Daniels has a personal stake in suspension rates in Wake County. Her sons, who are black, have been suspended multiple times, she said.

“So I just got really concerned, because the suspensions were coming so fast,” she said.

Sixty-seven percent of all short-term suspended students in Wake County for the past three years were black or multiracial and mostly boys. Wake County isn’t alone. It’s a statewide trend.

Calla Wright's advocacy group, Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children, hosts monthly seminars to draw attention to and empower parents on these issues.

“Our goal is that all children are learning and that parents become effective advocates for their children,” Wright said.

One way to combat the problem is to look at the way children learn. That was the focus of a program at six schools in Wake County last year.

“They actually studied the different ways boys and girls learn,” said school board member Eleanor Goettee. “It rests with the quality of teachers and the training that teacher gets."

Daniels said she is doing her best to break the cycle.

“I’m petrified when my middle school child goes back that they’ll be waiting on him, and it will just be a matter of time before here we go again,” she said. “We don’t have the tendency to forget what happened the year before.”

Daniels said the hardest thing about suspensions is that they create reputations that are hard to overcome.

In Wake County, 34 percent of all black students get suspended. That's compared to 6 percent of the white student population.

In 2005-2006, 64 percent of suspensions were black students. Statewide, the numbers show the same trend.

Short-term suspension rates for black and multiracial students in other school districts showed the following:

In Johnston County, 46 percent of short-term suspensions are black or multiracial students. In Durham, the rate is 83 percent. Cumberland posts 73 percent. In Mecklenburg County, 79 percent of suspended students are black or multiracial.

163 Comments

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  • mramorak Aug 7, 2007

    Notfromhere that was good!

  • AM is Back to Being Immaculate Aug 7, 2007

    WRAL's censor's have some serious issues. They allow people to spew hatred and hasty generalizations about other groups of people on this board. On the other hand, most of the poster's ignorance proceeds them so... You complain about a problem and try to belittle a group- yet you contribute nothing to solving the problem- useless.

  • Gandalf Aug 7, 2007

    This problem unfortunately will have long term affects across all economical, social and ethnic portions of society. The more alienated certain individuals feel the more they will rebel. This has the chance to become a national disaster if the majority of these individuals have no education and turn to crime as a way of surviving. When that happens incidents like the officer in Rocky Mount being shot will become more and more common place. The news is already laced everyday with violence and that trend will not go away. Law abiding Americans should take a hard look at society and arm themselves to protect their property and families because sooner or later law enforcement agencies are going to be outnumbered by thugs and criminals. Better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

  • wakep Aug 7, 2007

    People look at yourselves and what you've said about these kids - just stop and look at what you've written about African American people - I feel like I've stepped back a century or two when I read these comments

  • whatusay Aug 7, 2007

    bl25801...I agree, it is their culture. Violence, drugs, disrespect, and a "you owe me" attitude. What do I see when I look at a black male 16 year old? Everything 90% of them demonstrate in public is what keeps racism alive. They have the power to change, but it only gets worse. All they care about is crome rims, baggy pants, and a shirt 3 sizes too big.
    And what is amazing, that is what they want me to see. They have developed their own language, which most people not only do not understand, but do not want to associate with. The problem is the blacks, no one else...

  • bl25801 Aug 7, 2007

    I am a teacher and I think race is an issue. If you look, asian students are suspended nearly 6 times less on average than whites. Does that mean teachers are racist toward whites? Absolutely not! Compared to other races, African American students are far more likely to be in gangs and lack a support system or stucture in the home.

    In addition, if you look at black students from Africa or the Carribean (there is a small but significant enough of a population for comparisons sake) are less likely than whites to be suspended. Why would that be? If it is race, African American are more often less "black" in appearance than both of these groups.

    This problem will somehow be addressed by government or will be fixed by watering down suspension requirements, but the under lying problem will still exist unless the above issues are solved in the African American home and community.

  • whatusay Aug 6, 2007

    budjw...we can not treat all students the same, regardless of race. You should treat each student for his behavior. If a student is rude, violent, disruptive, or vulgar you believe he should be treated the same as a student who is polite, honest, and interested in learning. You must be a lost cause if you believe that.

  • bubjw Aug 6, 2007

    As an educator in the schools system, I have observed how teachers and administrator treat students of color differently. I have observed teachers curse, threaten, and provoke students to get them angry so they could write them up. These are teachers who are educating our children. With everything there are a few bad apples, which can effect the system and the students. This has been a problem for years. As educators, we know that we are not going to get the all students from the upper economic status, same culture or of the same race. A variety of things impact how we treat children of color, but we need to treat everyone the same way irregardless of race or class. By being a teacher we have to wear different hats and model to students how to treat each other respectfully. The system has to change or we will not get better.

  • Gafan001 Aug 6, 2007

    I think "EZ" summed it up pretty well.

  • wakep Aug 6, 2007

    Suspensions are up - I too dread my kids going back we are not african american we are white - I've had it with the bs at the schools - teachers can't deal with kids so they get suspended my kid was suspended twice last year - once for his tone and once for his eye rolling - I've had it - the school loses all creditability when I hear nonsense like this - what do the kids do when a teacher is unreasonable and downright rude? we went to administrator before any suspension my kid was told to "suck it up she's the teacher" great advice don't you think - how about some training for the teachers in normal adolescent behavior - I'm sick of it

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