Report: Black elementary school students being suspended from Wake schools at disproportionate rate

Posted March 13

— There were nearly 12,000 suspensions in Wake County public schools in the 2016-2017 school year, 20 percent of them at elementary schools.

African-Americans represent less than a quarter of the student population, but they account for almost two-thirds of the suspensions, according to the report by Dr. Paul Walker, Wake County public schools director.

Statistics show that 61 percent of elementary school students suspended were black children in the 4th or 5th grade.

One school board member described the statistics as a crisis that needs urgent attention.

Wake County school board Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler said the board asked for the suspension breakdown after noticing a high number of elementary school suspensions in an annual report.

“I think many of us at the table, including myself, really felt the need to say ‘this is urgent,’” she said. "That’s why I used the word crisis. It is not a word I use lightly.”

Kindergarteners aren't known for being troublemakers, but last year nearly 300 kindergartners were suspended from school in Wake County.

Walker, who created the report, said that most of the suspensions are for disruptive behavior and physical aggression. He said the suspension rates have been consistent over the past years.

School board members are now working to turn the numbers around.

“It’s imperative to me that we have to do something, and we are going to see this through,” Johnson-Hostler said.


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  • John Donnee Mar 14, 6:03 p.m.
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    Without strong role models at home these young kids don’t have the proper guidance or disclipline to teach them right from wrong. The end result is kids not wanting to learn or be in school. Teachers don’t have time to be a parent. No simple answer.

  • Robert Miller Mar 14, 5:18 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Drop the mic! Boom! Booyah! Truth!

  • Leamon Elbert Mar 14, 1:48 p.m.
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    Look at the arrest photos in Durham and Wake county on WRAL. Could there be a possibility that unruly kids turn into non law abiding citizens? Or is the liberal slant one that blacks are treated unfairly?

  • TJ Wahoo Mar 14, 1:38 p.m.
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    Disproportionality is another progressive lie. DSS is accused of taking custody of more minority kids too. Does anyone really think they want to take custody of any children? School administrators need to get off their collective duffs and provide an appropriate learning environment for their teachers and students that want to learn. We cannot expect our schools to feed, clothe, socialize, nurture, discipline, and educate our kids. If parents cannot demonstrate a responsible way to supervise and take care of their own children, the only solution is birth control.

  • Jj Parker Mar 14, 12:24 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    I agree! News was reported by facts. It is too bad that people don't want to hear the truth.

    People need to wake up. If more black kids are suspended then others than that is fact.

    Same as if they were white pink or purple.

    This has everything thing to do with their upbringing and it start at home.

  • Jeanne Summersett Mar 14, 12:21 p.m.
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    Disappointed in WRAL. Having recently retired from 25 years in the school system I have an issue with WRAL's reporting on this issue. Rather than trying to race bait try coming up with a solution. Compare prison rates, traffic stops, school suspensions, unemployment, welfare recipients, dropout rates, gang members, they all have common denominators. It is time for PARENTS to parent! Keep your kids off the streets, support your teachers, attend school events and get involved. i assure you the appropriate actions are taken by school administrators concerning each violation.

  • Jj Parker Mar 14, 12:19 p.m.
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    View quoted thread


  • Elena Lopez Mar 14, 11:56 a.m.
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    Don't lose sight of the fact that EVERY single week a school teacher in N.C. is charged with a sex offense and NOTHING is ever done about it.
    If they skip a week it is made up for the following week by atleast two arrests. The kids have only a few teachers left to look up to. They sure don't have anyone at home .

  • Vicky Corey Mar 14, 11:22 a.m.
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    I sure miss the old WRAL! They were impartial and showed both sides equally! I'm beginning to wonder why everybody is retiring or leaving and I bet eventually the truth will come out. It always does!

  • Leon Goshorn Mar 14, 10:08 a.m.
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    Well if those kids are indeed troublemakers then it is what it is. You cant change the facts cause you dont like the reality.