New CRDC Findings Reveal Unacceptable Trend of Discriminatory Discipline in Schools Continues

Black students and students with disabilities are subject to disciplinary practices that exclude them from classroom instruction, creating additional barriers to their learning.

Washington, DC – The following statement was released today by Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director of the National Council for Special Education in Charter Schools, in response to the latest Civil Rights Data Collection findings:

“These findings confirm the unacceptable trend of black students, especially boys, and students with disabilities being subject to disciplinary practices that exclude them from classroom instruction, thereby creating additional barriers to their learning. In line with the 2014 guidance published by the Department of Education, we must continue to not only track data regarding these practices but also take focused steps towards introducing school and classroom level policies and practices that will provide critical supports to students and teachers that, if implemented with fidelity, can decrease the need to exclude students from opportunities to learn. We are discouraged by the data, but are confident that our community of advocates will reverse these trends through research, communications, and smart policymaking at the federal and local levels.”

BACKGROUND

Today, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights released the findings of the 2015-2016 Civil Rights Data Collection. The massive database includes data from 17,337 school districts representing 96,360 schools enrolling 50.6 million students. The CRDC provides invaluable data regarding the status of students' civil rights across the nation and reflect OCR's commitment to ensuring that discussion related to civil rights are informed by data.

As with prior releases, NCSECS will be conducting a secondary analysis of the data set to examine the progress of both traditional public schools and charter schools. However, the data highlights published by the Department provide a somewhat discouraging preview. Most notably:

  • Black or African American students represent 15% of enrollment in public schools, but 31% of referrals to law enforcement or subjected to school-related arrests
  • Black males represent 8% of the population, but 25% of those receiving one or more out of school suspensions and 23% of the expulsions. 
  • Students with disabilities represent 12% of enrollment, but 28% of law enforcement referrals and subjected to school-related arrests, 26% of those receiving one or more out of school suspensions, and 24% of the expulsions.
  • Black or African American students represent 15% of the population, but 27% of the students restrained and 23% of the students secluded.
  • Students with disabilities represent 12% of the population, but 71% of those restrained and 66% of those secluded.

For more information on the NCSECS analysis of CRDC data, visit this NCSECS webpage.