Discriminatory Treatment of Black Students

Racial Gap in Suspensions

Black students from kindergarten to high school are about 3.8 times more likely to experience exclusionary discipline comparable to the white compeers.

Students of color get disparately treated, punished, and suspended.

The percentage of suspension varies by ethnic background and gender. Among all the K-12 students, 18 percent of Black boys, 10 percent Black girls, 5 percent White boys, and 2 percent White girls receive an out-of-school suspension (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, 2016).

The Brutal Disparities in Disciplining Students

There are several incidents reported indicating the bias behavior towards the Black students. A Black high school student pushed from the desk by an SRO just because of denying to put aside the phone; similarly, a Latina girl is slammed by the police on an argument with another student; likewise, a Black schoolboy in Virginia took into custody for presumably stealing a carton of milk (Wise, 2016).

These are some common issues that indicate the discipline experiences of students of color.

The racial gap in suspensions is not new. Zero-tolerance is trending up the racial gap because this punitive approach demands serious actions for minor disciplinary infractions.

However, this approach is purposed to impose predetermined punishments for extenuating circumstances. But it is not proven effective. It increases the level of culpability among the students that creates a hostile environment.

It is a common notion that students of color carry out the lion’s share of offenses, the reason why they are discriminately over-represented in the discipline data.

A common logic assumes that students of color are problematic at school. The cultural differences and the deficiencies are supposed to be held responsible for disciplining the students of color.

Biased Treatment of Black Students

The students of color, particularly the Black, refer more to the disciplinary issues leading to suspension for minor or subjective offenses like disrespect, making noise, bringing toy guns, etcetera. Whereas the White students get offered leniently and only punished for felonies or major crimes.

The students face discriminatory treatment while disciplining for similar misconduct.

The premade thoughts and unconscious attitudes about a group of people are one of the reasons that influence decision-making, causing people to suffer.

Undoubtedly, the bias exists across different institutions, from housing to social affairs, academics, health care, and criminal justice.

Prior researchers make it credible to think that racial bias is at the root of discipline disparities seen among students from different ethnic backgrounds.

The system’s differential treatment negatively impacts students’ academic and social lives, pushing them to backtrack.

The usual response to the differential mistreatment ends in dead silence. The students of color are still fighting for justice.

The glaring racial discrimination in discipline could not extirpate without strenuous and conjoint efforts.

Just like the life of the tree is not in the branches but the roots. Same as systems need root-cause evaluation to assess the atrocious racial discipline in different fields.

This discrimination and discipline issues can only diminish when the origin of the dysfunction gets known.


U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. (2016). 2013-2014 civil rights data collection: A first look. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/2013-14-first-look.pdf

Wise, S. (2016). Virginia student charged with stealing free milk from school. Retrieved http://wtvr.com/2016/05/23/free-milk-theft

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