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Zero Tolerance Unfair to Blacks

Zero          Tolerance Unfair to Blacks

By Joanna Dupuis

In Denver, for example, Black students make up 21% of the student population but account for 42% of suspensions and expulsions. In San Francisco, Blacks make up 16% of the student population and account for 52% of suspensions and expulsions.

In each of the 10 cities for which data are available, Black students were suspended or expelled at a rate higher than their population in the school district and white students were expelled or suspended at a rate lower than their population. Other cities included Austin, TX; Boston; Chicago; Columbia, SC; Durham, NC; Los Angeles; Phoenix; and Providence, RI.

The report was released by the Applied Research Center (ARC) in Oakland, CA, in response to the expulsions in Decatur, IL. The expulsions gained national attention when the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a series of protests against what he termed unnecessarily vindictive policies of "zero tolerance."

"Race does seem to be a significant dynamic" in school discipline, said Terry Keleher, of ARC. "And unless we acknowledge that dynamic, we may not make any progress in addressing this issue."

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