Study: Black student suspensions more common

| Monday, May 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Black students are suspended more than three times as often as their white classmates, twice as often as their Latino classmates and more than 10 times as often as their Asian classmates in middle and high schools nationwide, a new study shows.

The average American secondary student has an 11 percent chance of being suspended in a single school year, according to the study from the University of California at Los Angeles Civil Rights project. However, if that student is black, the odds of suspension jump to 24 percent.

Previous studies have shown that even a single suspension can double a student's odds of dropping out, said Daniel Losen, a former Boston-area teacher and one of the authors of “Out of School & Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools,” released in April. The study used Department of Education data collected during the 2009-10 school year, the latest available.

“Pointing fingers and using the ‘racism' word isn't going to get us where we need to go,” said Losen, who is white. “But I think we need to acknowledge that there may be general bias against black students.”

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