Office of Civil Rights Data Shows School Discipline Gaps

Written by: Beza Taddess
Date Posted: June 17, 2016

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently released data from a survey of all public schools and school districts in the United States. The findings, particularly related to racial disparities in school discipline, are striking. The report found that:

  • Black preschool children are 3.6 times more likely to receive one or more out of school suspensions than their white peers. Black children represent 19 percent of preschool enrollment, yet 47 percent of preschool children who are suspended are black. Suspension or expulsion from school for what are often developmentally appropriate (but challenging) behaviors does little to address the needs of children exhibiting these behaviors, and it can have profound consequences on their future.
  • In grades K-12, black children are 3.8 times more likely to be suspended out of school. Expulsions also disproportionately impact black students. National research shows that students of color are more often subject to harsh discipline than white peers for the same actions.

The Children’s Campaign has been working in partnership with community groups and policy partners to examine this issue. We will convene a stakeholder group this summer to look for policy solutions to better support Colorado kids and teachers.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Schools with high black and Latino enrollment have less access to rigorous courses or programs when compared with schools with low levels of black and Latino enrollment.
  • Black, Latino and American Indian or Alaska Native students are more likely to attend schools with higher concentrations of inexperienced teachers.

This data confirms what we already knew to be true from research and feedback from community members. There is still much work to do to ensure all kids have access to a high-quality education, regardless of zip code, race and ethnicity or socioeconomic status. We hope you will join us as we work to better understand this data and look for solutions to close the achievement and opportunity gaps that result from these inequities in the classroom.

Beza Taddess

About Beza Taddess

Beza Taddess is the Communications Director at the Colorado Children's Campaign. In this role, she manages our communications team in advancing and supporting the Children’s Campaign’s work through digital and traditional communications strategies. Beza strives to apply inclusive and innovative communications protocols to ensure all people are seen and heard. She joined the Children’s Campaign as part of the Public Interest Fellowship Program in 2015 after graduating with a degree in Sociology from Colorado College. She received her master’s degree from University of Colorado Denver in May of 2021.