Wake County Schools

Wake County schools discuss racial disparity in student suspension

Posted February 16

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The Wake County school board was talking discipline Tuesday afternoon and on the agenda was a new report about student discipline, including suspensions.

There were more than 11,800 school suspensions in the 2014-2015 school year, which is an increase of 6 percent, although suspensions have been decreasing overall in the last five years. 17,918 students were punished with short- or long-term suspensions in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the report.

While black students make up less than a quarter of all Wake County students, they accounted for 63 percent of last year’s suspensions.

White students accounted for 16 percent of all suspensions during the last school year, while Hispanics accounted for 15 percent.

This year, for the first time, information was released about how many students end up in the court system after getting in trouble at school. Between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, 850 students were referred to the court system and 69 percent of those students were black. In contrast, 22 percent of students referred to the courts were white and 8 percent were Hispanic.

According to the report, the odds of being arrested for fighting were 1.6 times higher for black students as compared to other students. The odds of a black student being arrested for theft was 1.7 times higher, the report said.

In 2014, a federal complaint was filed against the Wake County Public System, arguing minor misbehaviors were being disproportionately criminalized, affecting minority students. During the same year, the school board requested the new law enforcement data.

The concentrated numbers in the black student population continues to trouble district leaders, who have developed proposals to create alternatives to suspension and law enforcement intervention. In addition, the report said district leaders hope to expand mental health resources and launch a middle school discipline project.

"What schools aren't involving law enforcement officers and how can we replicate those schools that are having that success," said Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney Jennifer Story. "How can we get those numbers down and make sure those students aren't getting criminal records when others aren't."

12 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • RB Redmond Feb 19, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    -
    Yes.
    Refer to FBI - Table 43.
    It's all spelled out very clearly.
    When such a small percentage of the country's population (about 13%) commits about the same number of crimes (49%) as the largest percentage (about 7 0%) of the population does, it's going to "appear" unbalanced when it's not.

  • RB Redmond Feb 19, 2016
    user avatar

    With FBI Table 43 confirming 49% of violent crimes across the US are committed by whites who account for about 70% of the country's total population with another 49% of the crime being committed by blacks which account for only about 13% of the country's population, there may not be disparity at all. It might just appear that way.

  • Roy Hinkley Feb 17, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    They did not do an analysis by gender, so I can't tell you how many get suspended. I can tell you WCPSS is 49% female.

  • Tron Carter Feb 17, 2016
    user avatar

    Go spend an afternoon in a few high school classrooms in Wake County and you'll quickly realize it's not those handing down the suspensions that are the problem. What a laughable article.

  • Kevin Weidner Feb 17, 2016
    user avatar

    "What schools aren't involving law enforcement officers and how can we replicate those schools that are having that success," said Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney Jennifer Story.
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/wake-county-schools-discuss-racial-disparity-in-student-suspension/15377223/#TlgIbOXDsOS56vLY.99

    Jennifer - unfortunetly, the standards used in elementary schools cannot be applied at the middle and high school levels. The "children" are bigger, and their infractions are usually much more serious.

  • Byrd Ferguson Feb 16, 2016
    user avatar

    Are these statistics not consistent with the crime rate / prison population with the rest of the country? Is this disparity due to prejudice, or are the majority of the crimes being committed by blacks? That is the real question.

  • Jarfaris Brown Feb 16, 2016
    user avatar

    It would seem the solution is to not apply the rules to black students. Just apply to rules to Latinos, Whites, and other races. If they want to fight let them, if they want to disrupt class let them. Just teach them the laws don't apply to them.

  • Gia Momoa Feb 16, 2016
    user avatar

    Dear Legal Aid, You can get those numbers down by making the parents of these trouble makers do their JOB!
    Your welcome.

  • Amy Whaley Feb 16, 2016
    user avatar

    "...the odds of being arrested for fighting were 1.6 times higher for black students as compared to other students. The odds of a black student being arrested for theft was 1.7 times higher, the report said.
    ...arguing minor misbehaviors were being disproportionately criminalized, affecting minority students."

    fighting and theft are minor misbehaviors?

    More importantly, what are we going to do to teach the kids that fighting and theft are unacceptable behaviors?

  • Bubba Smith Feb 16, 2016
    user avatar

    How many females are suspended and what percent of the student enrollment is female?

More...