U.S. Probes Racial Disparities in Seattle School Discipline

Friday, March 8, 2013

The inquiry, launched in May 2012, is focusing in part on the district's own statistics showing that African-American high school students are suspended or expelled more than three times as often as other students, school officials said on Wednesday.

In middle school, the racial disparity is greater, with blacks 3 1/2 times more likely to be disciplined than other students, according to district data shared with Reuters.

More than a quarter of all black middle school pupils have received short-term suspensions in any given year since at least the 2006-07 academic year, compared with 7.4 percent or less annually for white students, the data shows.

African-Americans represent just over 20 percent of the 12,500 high school students in the Seattle district and 18 percent of 8,000 middle school students there, and yet they account for more than 40 percent of all suspensions and expulsions in those schools.

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