In a report released by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, researchers studied the discipline gap of U.S. students and determined that it is a driving reason as to why we are unable to close the overall achievement gap. The statistical analysis indicated that those districts with the most outstanding suspensions have shown their students to be missing out on days of instruction, therefore leading to overall poor performance in school.
The report analysis breaks down federal data by elementary and secondary schools and combines all out-of-school suspensions to calculate comparative suspension rates for every district in the nation. The state with the highest suspension rate in both elementary and secondary schools is Florida.
Shockingly, when the report looked at districts with at least 100 elementary students with disabilities and at least 1,000 students enrolled, they found high suspension rates for students with disabilities in 37 districts, more than 25%. In essence the report determined children with disabilities to have the highest suspension rates. The report breaks down children with disabilities even further by race and gender with equally disappointing results.
In this report and in one done earlier in the year 2009-10, it was concluded that schools suspend students with disabilities at rates that are typically two to three times higher than those of students without disabilities.
According to the law, schools may not suspend students with disabilities for behavior that is caused by their disability. It is concerning to see these figures and questions are raised as to whether schools are not meeting the legal and moral obligations to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities.
The report concluded that a school’s or districts extreme use of suspension discipline should be a sign of the negative impact it can have on the learning environment, student achievement, and graduation rates.
CEC has identified this as an alarming issue and has worked with the U.S. Department of Education to identify strategies to improve practice. In addition, CEC continues to highlight alternatives to practice in its professional development offerings as well as through its research and practice journals.
To read the full report with data analysis, click here.