Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: Sayre Quevedo
Over the past couple weeks we’ve covered the UC tuition hikes and the Atlanta teacher cheating scandal. It may be summer, but school is definitely still on the minds of many Americans. A study released this week brings more bad news—the Council of State Governments Justice Center released “Breaking Schools’ Rules,” a report that tracked one million 7th graders in Texas over six years, paying close attention to disciplinary action throughout the state.
The findings show that more than half of the one million students, 59. 6 percent, received at least one disciplinary action between seventh and twelfth grade. Disciplinary actions refer to suspension, expulsion, or a temporary transfer to a Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP.) If a student has been suspended from a school for longer than three days they have to attend a DAEP. However, there is a high rate of student expulsions from DAEPs, often for the same reasons they were sent there in the first place.
Even more shocking than the rates at which students were being disciplined was the disproportionately high number of African American and Latino students that were given Out of School Suspensions for their first offenses compared to white students. 26.2 percent of African American students, 18 percent of Latino students, and nine percent of white students were suspended for their first offense.
While at first discipline may seem like the practical means of dealing with difficult students, suspending them from school is having a larger affect on Texas graduation rates. The study shows that on average, each individual Texas student had been disciplined eight times. But the study found that only 40 percent of students who had been disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school.
So, are these disciplinary actions accomplishing what they set out to do? Are we kicking students out of the classroom for a couple days, or for a lifetime?
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