Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and School Suspensions

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Center for Justice Research


Center for Justice Research Releases Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and School Suspensions Research Report

HOUSTON, TX – December 6, 2021 – The Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University (TSU) today released its most recent research publication titled “Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and School Suspensions.” The study’s key finding revealed that Black students are 17 times more likely to be disciplined than White or Hispanic students.

The goal of the research study was to better understand the relationship between the rationale for school discipline and the disciplined student’s racial/ethnic profile. The Center for Justice Research team reviewed school discipline data of a specific school district for the 2016–2017 academic year. Within that data, the team evaluated the race/ethnicity, campus type, grade level, gender, economic disadvantage, and reasons for suspension elements of each student disciplined. Significant results found from the study included:

·      47% of all students disciplined were Black, though only accounting for 20% of the total school population

·      63% of the students suspended have multiple suspensions, and Black students accounted for 51% of these multiple suspensions

·      95% of the suspended Black students are economically disadvantaged

“Our newest research report brings to light the inequitable and imbalanced use of academic-based discipline across our local school systems in the U.S. However, it also provides actionable recommendations to address and rectify those injustices to ultimately break the school-to-prison pipeline that so many of our Black students become entrapped in,” said Dr. Howard Henderson, director of the Center for Justice Research. “We are thrilled to share this research with the stakeholders responsible for leading change in our school systems so we can collectively continue creating lasting solutions that reduce these disciplinary disparities.”

The Center for Justice Research issued six recommendations to assist school districts interested in reducing the disparities based on the study’s findings. Those recommendations include:

·      Building an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of schools’ discipline data

·      Form a community-school task force

·      Enact a moratorium on discretionary suspensions

·      Utilize focus groups

·      Implement cultural awareness training

·      Utilize Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

The Center for Justice Research encourages policymakers, educational leaders, parents, families, and community leaders to use the information within this report to inform the systemic, cultural, and behavioral changes needed to establish an equal school disciplinary approach. For the full research brief and recommendations, please visit www.centerforjusticeresearch.org.

About the Center for Justice Research, Barbara Jordan -Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, and Texas Southern University

The Center for Justice Research is committed to creating justice reform-oriented solutions for the reduction of mass incarceration by connecting and applying academic thought to practical challenges. As a university-level research center, the Center for Justice Research provides a culturally responsive approach to mass incarceration and to criminal justice reform. Our targeted research advances data-driven solutions by supporting innovation, collecting committed reformers, compelling policy arguments and engendering broad consensus amongst community stakeholders.

The mission of the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs is to serve as an urban-focused community of learning dedicated to educating professionals who will plan and administer environmentally healthy and sustainable communities at the local, state, national and international levels of society.

Texas Southern University (TSU) is a student-centered, comprehensive doctoral university in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. Texas Southern’s academic and research curricula are committed to ensuring equality, offering innovative programs that are responsive to its urban setting, and transforming diverse students into lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and creative leaders in their local, national, and global communities. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees –organized into 10 colleges and schools. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927.

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