Wake County Schools

Wake student discusses suspension numbers with federal officials

Posted March 24, 2014

Wake County Public School System

— A Wake County student was in Washington, D.C. Monday to advocate for a change in how students are disciplined in school.

Ajamu Dillahunt, a junior at Southeast Raleigh High School, met with the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African-American Children to discuss local suspension numbers and those recently released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The study, consisting of data from all of the nation’s public schools, found that black students represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but make up 48 percent of those suspended more than once. Black students represent 16 percent of total student enrollment yet make up 27 percent of those referred to law enforcement and 31 percent of those arrested in school.

Black students make up 25 percent of all Wake students but account for over 60 percent of school suspensions, according to research by a student group Dillahunt is part of.

NC HEAT (North Carolina Heroes Emerging Among Teens) is a group of Wake students who have addressed the district’s discipline policies during community and school board meetings, even presenting Wake Superintendent Jim Merrill with a cake highlighting the number of suspended students.

“Students in San Francisco and Wake County continue to face racial discrimination in school discipline that negatively impacts Black and Latino students,” the group said in a statement. “Overly punitive zero tolerance policies result in student suspension, expulsion and even arrest for things such as talking back to a teacher, being tardy to class or not wearing the appropriate school uniform.”

School discipline is slated for discussion during a Governor’s Task Force on Safer Schools steering committee meeting in New Bern on Wednesday.


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  • whistler411 Mar 25, 2014

    KAL-the wise man who said about the content of his children's character...well, he actually instilled that character in his children. Something that is not happening these days.

  • kal Mar 25, 2014

    There was once a wise man who said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

  • Bullcity34 Mar 25, 2014

    Gmuny the knife wielding guy is being charged after his mental evaluation. Its because of people like you and the left wing he hasn't been charged yet. He supposedly has a mental disorder although I'm sure its substance abuse. Even though its a choice the left has decided that drug abuse is a mental disorder. That's the lefts doing. Our society is becoming weak and we are paying for it. Just look at our youth

  • whistler411 Mar 25, 2014

    You can thank mainstreaming and inclusion for those who are diagnosed with behavioral issues. They are "entitled" to the least restrictive environment and it doesn't matter if their entitlement interferes with the education of the masses.

  • Life-goes-on. Mar 25, 2014

    Are they being suspended because they are black or because they made choices that got them suspended? Are they being referred to law enforcement or arrested because they are black or again because of choices they made? Throwing numbers out doesn't tell the story. Until you've been in a classroom that is predominately black and seen the actions of these students it would be easy to assume they're being treated unfairly. The actual truth is that these students are given numerous chances above and beyond those given to other races and still make bad choices. This kind of action only amplifies the victim mentality and perpetuates the cycle.. it's sad but until they decide they want something more out of life this is their fate.

  • James Scandrick Mar 25, 2014
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    Punishment by the school board and judicial system is vastly different. Just look at the knife wielding guy that was just apprehended in Chapel Hill, to the point of causing a lockdown. He has yet to be charged with a single crime, nor jailed, he has been taken for psyche evaluation. There is no way in the world that would be the case of a young black man, in the middle of white student crowd. He looked like those he was threatening, therefore the charges will not be trumped up, heck, not even charged at this point. There is a difference ppl, it's not pity, it's reality. The punishment does not fit the crime for black children and young adults. How bout charge the white children and teens with the same veracity, and there will be more than Wake students talking to the Feds. Read, there are White Students, that see this disparity. Many black and white kids are friends, it's the parents that fail to believe. The kids are advocating for themselves, their friends, the parents cant see why

  • Wacky_dood Mar 25, 2014

    If students are talking back to teachers, they're creating a hostile work environment for their teachers and interfering with the educational process of the other students. The punishment should be swift and severe: immediate suspension for the first offense; sent to continuation school for the second and permanently expelled for the third and last.

    The taxpayers, teachers and the students who know how to behave deserve better.

  • Doug Pawlak Mar 25, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    I agree Beaupeep. You can't ignore it, It's reality.

  • ncguy Mar 25, 2014

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    It is what used to be the norm when I was a kid is now blown out if proportion due to the fact of Leo's having to warrant their own jobs as sro's

  • Rebelyell55 Mar 25, 2014

    Would be nice to see some an age comparison ratio to this study. See some articles on violents in our school here in NC, one thing I notice was the age given. I don't really remember back in the day when ya had 15 & 16 year olds in classes of mostly 11 to 12 year olds. I also see a lot of 19 to 20 year old in classes with 16 to 17 year old students. I understand there can be health issue and such that would cause some to be 19 or 20 in the year they graduate, but to be 18 or 19 in the 9th grade? That would seem to beg a problem. Our state is reguired to give it's children an education. Now it's has started at age 4 for many. I think after age 18, if the "child" can't graduate in a decent amount of time at that age, if they're going to be 19 or 20 that they should be schooled off site in an adult education class at their cost.