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Report: Racial gaps in school suspensions persist

One of North Carolina’s most troubling K-12 disparities endures, according to a new report cited Monday by The News & Observer.

The report, issued by a project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, details persistent gaps between suspension rates for black and white students across the state’s 115 school districts.

Policy Watch has reported on the scope of this issue in the past, and, despite evidence that the state’s K-12 system is reducing the number of suspensions, the gaps in student suspensions remain.

From The N&O report:

Black students are more likely to be suspended than their white classmates, according to the report cards.

During the 2015-16 school year, black students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system were 10 times more likely to be suspended than white students, 8.7 times more likely in Durham and 7.8 times more likely in Wake County.

“The Racial Equity Report Cards are intended to be a launching point for community education and discussion,” Peggy Nicholson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project, said in a written statement released Friday. “They are not meant as an attack on the critically important public institutions that serve our youth, but rather, as a call-to-action for students, parents, advocates, policymakers, and institutional stakeholders to collectively examine the causes of racial inequity in their community and develop solutions that will help young people, especially youth of color, avoid and escape the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The coalition says disparities such as those seen in suspension rates mean more children of color are funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline, a system of policies and practices that pushes students out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal systems.

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