Minority students in Aiken, Columbia, Richmond county schools face harsher punishments

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:26 PM
Last updated 9:24 PM
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WASHINGTON — More than 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or cases referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black, according to a Department of Education report that raises questions about whether students of all races are disciplined evenhandedly in U.S. schools.

Black students are more than three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended or expelled, according to an early snapshot of the report released to reporters. The findings come from a national collection of civil rights data from 2009-10 of more than 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation.

Data released Tuesday afternoon show that trend holds in Augusta-area school districts. In Richmond County, where 76 percent of the students were black in the 2009-10 school year, 100 percent of those expelled – 35 – were black.

In Columbia County, which had 17 percent black student enrollment that year, 29 percent of those expelled were black. In Aiken County, with black student enrollment of 34 percent, 58 percent of those expelled were black.

“The sad fact is that minority students across America face much harsher discipline than non-minorities, even within the same school,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters.

Duncan said some school officials might not have been aware of inconsistencies in how they handle discipline, and he hoped the report would be an eye-opener.

Raul Gonzalez, the legislative director at the National Council of La Raza who taught school in New York, said “zero tolerance” policies in both schools and the court system disproportionately affect black and Hispanic kids. He said the policies have created a system that takes kids out of school and ultimately leads them into prison where they become hardened criminals. He said more moderate responses are needed in schools, and he hopes that the report will lead to a change in policies in schools and in state laws.

“We’ve lost control of all judgment here, and it’s almost always a black kid or a Hispanic kid” affected, Gonzalez contended.

According to the Education report, 42 percent of the referrals to law enforcement involve black students and 29 percent involved Hispanics, while 35 percent of students involved in school-related arrests were black and 37 percent were Hispanic.

Black students made up 18 percent of the students in the sample, but they were 35 percent of students suspended once and 39 percent of students expelled, the report said.

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Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 03/06/12 - 09:44 pm
6
2
What is the evidence that

What is the evidence that minorities are treated more harshly than non-minorities in school discipline? It seems that this conclusion may have been formulated to avoid an uncomfortable conversation that needs to be had if improvement is to be expected. If minorities are indeed treated more harshly, there is no back-up to support that idea in this article.

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 03/06/12 - 09:58 pm
5
0
If the conclusion of the

If the conclusion of the study is black kids are discriminated against when it comes to disciplining, it's flawed for obvious reasons. It may be a very good report to work from, but it's wrong to say it means there is discrimination. We need to look at All factors.

I believe all of us, black, white, liberal, conservative know what's going on. It's a complex problem, but not one of discrimination in schools. Most of the faculty and administrators in Richmond County are black as are SEVENTY SIX PERCENT of the students.

Willow Bailey
20595
Points
Willow Bailey 03/06/12 - 10:03 pm
4
1
I don't need any stats to

I don't need any stats to tell me this is a true statement. Children and adults are treated differently based on many factors and race does happen to be one of them, so is hygiene, weight, physical attractiveness, relational skills, social position and connections, influence, power, verbal skills, confidence, and money.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 03/06/12 - 10:04 pm
6
0
Wouldn't you have to look at

Wouldn't you have to look at all the factors to determine any bias. How many were repeat offenders that maybe didn't get suspended or expelled the first offense. Also wouldn't you have to view what type of offense it was. If you had a white student running his/her mouth and a black student that had a weapon on him/her...wouldn't it stand to reason the black student would be suspended and the white student put in ISS? Not enough information on the data collected to tell whether this story is valid.

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 03/06/12 - 10:06 pm
6
0
Willow, what's left out is

Willow, what's left out is the propensity of the black kids to commit infractions. Do they do it more than white kids? Look at the Richmond Cty stats. Most of the kids by far are black. The Superintendent is black, most of the principals are. There is no predjudice at work, is my guess.

Willow Bailey
20595
Points
Willow Bailey 03/06/12 - 10:22 pm
2
3
River, you are saying the

River, you are saying the things that I listed do not play a role in the way people are viewed and treated?

Willow Bailey
20595
Points
Willow Bailey 03/06/12 - 10:27 pm
2
4
You may wish to google "Are

You may wish to google "Are black students disciplined more harshly than white students?" There must be at least 200 articles and studies that say, resoundingly, Yes.

fatboyhog
1987
Points
fatboyhog 03/06/12 - 10:38 pm
9
3
"There must be at least 200

"There must be at least 200 articles and studies that say, resoundingly, Yes."
Of course there are. We must keep the victim mentality alive. It's always the result of discrimination, not personal actions.

Willow Bailey
20595
Points
Willow Bailey 03/06/12 - 10:44 pm
3
6
Fatboy, if it's the same

Fatboy, if it's the same problem, the discipline should be the same, regardless of who you are or what your appearance is.

Take a good look at another area of how people are treated when it comes to news coverage of missing women...who makes national news, missing blacks or white, blondes?

fatboyhog
1987
Points
fatboyhog 03/06/12 - 11:05 pm
8
0
"Fatboy, if it's the same

"Fatboy, if it's the same problem, the discipline should be the same, regardless of who you are or what your appearance is."

I agree wholeheartedly, Willow. Where in this story does it say that the discipline is not the same for the same problem?

itsanotherday1
43681
Points
itsanotherday1 03/06/12 - 11:27 pm
6
0
Thanks for the logic Willow.

Thanks for the logic Willow. The article's stats appear to not include factors such as severity of infraction, history of infractions, etc.; but IF all circumstances are equal, treatment should be equal as well.

Edit: Wasn't it Clemens who said (paraphrased) "You have lies, damn lies, and statistics." You can crank the numbers to favor whatever outcome you are looking for, but as I said above; when all things are equal, treatment should be as well.

Truth Matters
6984
Points
Truth Matters 03/07/12 - 01:38 am
1
0
Before discounting this as

Before discounting this as flawed or not true, one should read the STUDY and not just rely on the article for the details. I am sure the newspaper is not able to devote space to an entire STUDY, but instead the article is meant to give an overview of the study's findings. The actual study will include the sampling size, method, and other data that many of you are asking about.

The fact that the majority of administrators in a system may be of the minority group does not negate the fact that minorities are more often suspended. If administrators are following zero tolerance as a guide for exacting punishment, then that becomes part of the problem, also.

That aside, I would love to see some literature on the makeup and background of students who commit mass murders on school campuses but go undetected until the day of horror. They are just as much a threat to the school body, but some have no record of suspension or disciplinary actions. It shows that all seemingly compliant and "good" students are not harmless. The sad situation in Ohio last week is a case in point.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 03/07/12 - 01:59 am
3
7
This difference in

This difference in punishments is not just in the schools, but in most facets of society.

It is well-known and documented that minorities are much more likely to be incarcerated or be given lengthy prison sentences versus punishments given to whites committing the same crimes. This inequality is especially true if the victim is white and the perpetrator is a minority.

Minorities in this country face a constant barrage of inequalities. The stress level is immeasurable due to the pressure of racism and discrimination. There is truly the existence of "white privilege" - you do not have to look any farther than the numbers of minorities graduating college, the number of minorities that own a home, or the number of minorities in good jobs at the management level. It is unequal and we keep burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the facts.

The school punishments are only a microcosm of what is happening in every other aspect of American life for minorities.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/07/12 - 01:59 am
0
0
Rather than focus on

Rather than focus on purported discrimination in meting out certain types of punishment to a small percentage of Black kids, why don't the professional and popular media study the impact of disrespect, disorder and detachment upon the academic achievement of the huge numbers of Black, Hispanic and poor kids who are enrolled in the multitude of public schools where these factors predominate? Step on too many "big shots"' toes, you reckon?

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 03/07/12 - 03:22 am
8
0
Raul Gonzalez, the

    Raul Gonzalez, the legislative director at the National Council of La Raza who taught school in New York, said “zero tolerance” policies in both schools and the court system disproportionately affect black and Hispanic kids (article).

How does a zero tolerance policy discriminate? Such a policy lowers the boom on all offenders regardless of their race or ethnicity. Absent some evidence of unfairness by school and court officials, a logical conclusion would be that a disproportionate number of policy violations are being committed by minority students.

scoobynews
3855
Points
scoobynews 03/07/12 - 06:14 am
6
0
This is not true in every

This is not true in every school. I know from personal experience that 2 kids in the past two weeks did the same thing one got 1 day of detention (he is biracial) and yesterday a white student got 2 days of detention. Both are repeat offenders and both have served ISS this year. Anyone can take "results" and make up a study to "prove" their point.

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 03/07/12 - 04:37 pm
2
1
Willow, I have no doubt black

Willow, I have no doubt black folks are still discriminated against in our society. They are coming out of an apartheid system that officially and legally held them as second class citizens for many, many years.

Having said that, for this study to be funded by the feds and presented as some type of logical conclusion, it's fatally flawed. If you are going to break things down on a racial basis, you have to consider the behavior of the races. Do I think black kids make more trouble? Yes, I do.

It's all part of coming out of the apartheid system with loss of family and so on, I realize. I'm sure the majority black teachers, administrators and other students understand this, too, when dealing with black kids who make trouble. If anything they are given more breaks when it comes to being disciplined and that's fine with me. I UNDERSTAND.

All I'm saying is if we should look at this study objectively and see its major flaw. Now onto uplifting all the kids in Richmond Cty and the nation.

Boudreaux
117
Points
Boudreaux 03/07/12 - 08:10 am
6
1
Am I misreading or are there

Am I misreading or are there no facts whatsoever in this article that point to discrimination? I think this kind of thing, where discrimination is used as an excuse for proper behaviour, is a big reason why the numbers are so skewed to begin with.

REDRIDER
134
Points
REDRIDER 03/07/12 - 08:32 am
1
0
That's about even 30 percent

That's about even 30 percent White 70 percent split between Black and Hispanic. I don't get it. Even here in Richmond County100 percent of those expelled – 35 – were black. Is that not 35 percent. Some one needs more things to keep up with like discipline your kids.

cozzster
50
Points
cozzster 03/07/12 - 08:56 am
0
0
I'm a little confused here.
Unpublished

I'm a little confused here. So is the article saying just because a high number of black and hispanic students are expelled, there is predjudice against them? How about maybe more hispanic and black students commit acts that get them expelled. Just because a high percentage of black and hispanic students were involved in school related cases that involved law enforcement just means more black and hispanic students commit acts that draw that attention. Non black and hispanic students don't commit acts that result in that sort of punishment.

Little Lamb
46367
Points
Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 09:11 am
3
1
cozzster wrote: I'm a little

cozzster wrote:

I'm a little confused here. So is the article saying just because a high number of black and hispanic students are expelled, there is predjudice against them? How about maybe more hispanic and black students commit acts that get them expelled. Just because a high percentage of black and hispanic students were involved in school related cases that involved law enforcement just means more black and hispanic students commit acts that draw that attention. Non black and hispanic students don't commit acts that result in that sort of punishment.

No need to be confused, cozzster. This story gets repeated in the newspapers every year like clockwork for the last four decades. It is very much like the news stories about high airplane traffic on Thanksgiving weekend or the yellow pollen stories every year in the springtime. There is no news in this news story; only prejudice in the hearts of the Department of Education bureaucrats.

Little Lamb
46367
Points
Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 09:16 am
6
2
specsta wrote: The school

specsta wrote:

The school punishments are only a microcosm of what is happening in every other aspect of American life for minorities.

Well, what do you expect? Schools are where the children are taught how to live the rest of their lives. So if something happens in "every other aspect of American life," you can blame it all on the schools. That's a pretty convenient scapegoat you've got there, specsta.

linux
96
Points
linux 03/07/12 - 10:08 am
5
3
Misleading title. The

Misleading title. The punishment is not harsher, but a greater percentage of minorities are behaving badly. That's not news, just the same old liberal pap that is reported in every liberal city in America.

The inference is that it's a government problem and that government needs to do something about it, as opposed to the obvious.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 03/07/12 - 10:45 am
2
1
Wow! Sure seems to be alot of

Wow! Sure seems to be alot of Egyptian water flowing in this thread.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/07/12 - 10:46 am
0
5
One question: DID YOU READ
Unpublished

One question: DID YOU READ THE STUDY or JUST THE ARTICLE???

How can a country that held black people in bondage for so long, (not just slavery...i.e. Civil Rights Era) ever become an "equal" place to live?

People of color...all of them...are discriminated against in the this place we call Amerika. Thats the way of the game.

Little Lamb
46367
Points
Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 10:58 am
3
1
People commonly called

People commonly called "white" all have some skin pigmentation, iLove. I guess we are discriminated against, also.

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 03/07/12 - 11:45 am
1
1
One question: DID YOU READ

    One question: DID YOU READ THE STUDY or JUST THE ARTICLE??? (iLove).

A news story about this study no doubt would've mentioned any evidence found of bias by school and court officials, if such evidence existed. For surely a competent reporter would consider that evidence newsworthy.

Since this article is from the Associated Press (a news-gathering organization known for leaning to the left), the reporter mustn't have had any politically useful evidence to mention.

The reporter could merely remark that the study "raises questions" about discrimination; then she quoted some officials who were asking the questions.

fiveobike1
65
Points
fiveobike1 03/07/12 - 11:44 am
1
0
i think everyone is skirting

i think everyone is skirting the most delicate of issues this survey provides, we are so quick to call racisim and discrimination when we see surveys such as this, when the reality is and this can be statistically backed as well, A higher percent of black people commit the crime or break the rule.. (hear comes the "your racist" remarks, however i can assure you i am not) Compare these same stats to the racial break down of our prisons today, i bet they are pretty close...

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 03/07/12 - 11:53 am
1
0
Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder
Unpublished

Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and Jose Feliciano can ALL SEE this is true!!!!!!

fiveobike1
65
Points
fiveobike1 03/07/12 - 11:55 am
2
2
I bet these statistics

I bet these statistics parallel with the racial make up of our prisons.. this is not a discrimination thing, it is a who commits the crime or breaks the rule more often, thing.. The fact is that these minorities, statistically commit more infractions.. nothing racist or discrimintory about it..
They say blacks made up 18% of this sample but were 35% of those suspended.. Prison Gangs account for 18% of most prison populations, but account for 75% of the diciplinary actions.. See how easy that is.. (FYI>>>accurate stats about the prison gangs)

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