Students with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be suspended from school as nondisabled students, with the highest rates among black children with disabilities.
According to a new analysis of Department of Education data, 13 percent of disabled students in kindergarten through 12th grade were suspended during the 2009-2010 school year, compared with 7 percent of students without disabilities. Among African-American children with disabilities, which included those with learning difficulties, the rate is even higher: one out of every four was suspended at least once during that school year.
The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted the study of data from the federal education department’s Office for Civil Rights, which originally released the raw statistics in March.
Policy makers and civil rights leaders worry about out-of-school suspensions because they are often a precursor to students dropping out of school and can raise a child’s risk of future incarceration. School districts with high suspension rates also tend to be correlated with lower student achievement as measured by test scores.