Black students hit with penalty more than whites in Clarke, rest of state

Thursday, June 18, 2009 7:40 AM
Last updated 5:28 PM
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Black students in Clarke County and across the state are more likely than their white colleagues to be suspended from school, according to district-by-district suspension data requested by the Georgia NAACP. About 38 percent of the students in Georgia's 180 public school districts are black, but black students account for 67 percent of suspensions, according to numbers reported to the state Department of Education.

The numbers - which are similar in the Clarke County School District - alarm some leaders of the NAACP, who are urging parents and school officials to take a closer look to find out why blacks are suspended in such high numbers.

"One would hope that the percentage of enrollment is relatively equivalent to the number of suspensions," said Jennifer Falk, state education chairwoman for the Georgia State Conference NAACP. "And so that's the question we're asking is it out of whack? Whatever the discussion ends up being, there should be data to support it."

In Clarke County last year, 55 percent of students were black, but 80 percent of the district's 1,740 suspensions were meted out to blacks. White students, who make up 20 percent of the 12,000-student system, had 5.4 percent of all suspensions.

Of all students suspended, 86 percent are poor.

Students who come from poverty tend to have more behavioral problems than others, but poverty by itself does not explain the entire issue, NAACP leaders say.

"Why, I don't know," said Rick Dunn, the Clarke County School District's graduation coach coordinator. "I won't say it's racism. It is what it is."

While the disparity is less pronounced in surrounding school systems, black students still are more likely to face suspension as discipline than white students, according to the report, which covered the 2007-08 school year.

In neighboring Oconee County, black students represented 5 percent of enrollment but took 20 percent of the district's 189 suspensions. White students made up 85 percent of all students, representing 70 percent of all suspensions.

Only 3 percent of the school district's 6,600 students were suspended, and suspension remains a last resort or when a student commits an offense that isn't tolerated, like fighting or bringing weapons or drugs to school, said Mark Channell, Oconee's executive director for student services.

"We want students to remain in school so that they can learn; however, if they are being disruptive to the learning environment and keeping others from learning, we only have ISS (in-school suspension) and OSS (out-of-school suspension) as a means for keeping the learning environment just that ... a learning environment," Channell said in an e-mailed response.

Still, suspension can have severe consequences for students and lead to other problems down the road, Falk said.

"We need to make sure every child is in school and graduating," she said. "And this is obviously something that may be contributing to low graduation rates or dropout rates."

Next year, the Clarke County School District will attempt to keep suspended students engaged in school activities through a partnership with Timothy Baptist Church.

Suspended students would be required to attend a program called the Successfully Engaging Youth Day to get help on school work or receive tutoring in critical subjects, like reading, said church Elder Terris Thomas.

"Once the student returns to school, it will be a successful reintegration," Thomas said. "They'll go back and won't feel like they've lost seven or 10 days - they'll be able to turn in their homework and be able to reintegrate back into the classroom."

Of Clarke County's 1,740 suspensions, 1,392 went to black students and 94 went to white students. Males received 67 percent of suspensions, and more than half were between ages 10 to 15.

SEE THE DATA

Click here to see a PDF of the discipline reports for every county school system in Georgia.

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brd27
6
Points
brd27 06/18/09 - 07:22 am
0
0
Black's are suspended more

Black's are suspended more because they get in trouble more!!! It has nothing to do with RACE!!! NAACP most be bored so they're sticking there nose in it!!! This kinda stuff gets soooo old!!!

LBenedict
2
Points
LBenedict 06/18/09 - 07:30 am
0
0
I echo brd's comments.

I echo brd's comments.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 06/18/09 - 07:43 am
0
0
In Clarke County less than

In Clarke County less than 20% of blacks who enroll as freshmen will graduate from high school. They become gang members, hood-rat thugs, dope slingers, or unwed baby-mama's whose career path is paved with welfare "government checks", the more the downloads---the bigger the check. No ambition, and a belief that the government owes them a "a living" is the mindset of the black youths.

humbleopinion
1
Points
humbleopinion 06/18/09 - 07:49 am
0
0
There is no mention of the

There is no mention of the reasons for the suspensions. Could it be that the black students are involved in more VIOLENT offenses at school that would require a suspension? Let's see the statistics for that before jumping to conclusions that the school systems are racist.

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 06/18/09 - 07:49 am
0
0
These people were simply

These people were simply trying to find an excuse to be in the newspaper...

sirfrederick
0
Points
sirfrederick 06/18/09 - 07:59 am
0
0
I agree with everyone so far.

I agree with everyone so far. Do the crime, do the time. The only problem is that the guilty white liberals will now feel compelled to change suspension policy so as not to hurt anyone's feelings and we will continue down the 30 year path to the destruction of this countries basic, fundamental beliefs that individual achievement is the cornerstone of success.

Tots
26312
Points
Tots 06/18/09 - 08:28 am
0
0
NACCP just trying to get a

NACCP just trying to get a headline again.Very good post sifrederick@8:59 I agree with you on that one.

1of the frontrowgang
0
Points
1of the frontrowgang 06/18/09 - 08:30 am
0
0
committ the crime ,pay the

committ the crime ,pay the fine, it has nothing to do with race.
watch tv news at night and look at the pictures and see who is wanted for crimes.

142
Points
Dan White 06/18/09 - 08:57 am
0
0
Blacks also have a higher

Blacks also have a higher percentage in prison than whites. In fairness, maybe for every black student penalized and black criminal who goes to jail, the government schools can grab a white person and penalize him or her and find a white person off the street to send to prison so the numbers are equal. It would sure be nice if everyone was purple or something and not black, brown, or white. Then this nonsenisical reporting and analysis would stop. But oops, these analyzers would be out of a job. Never fear Obama is here and he will create a new government job for them!

jack
10
Points
jack 06/18/09 - 09:05 am
0
0
The usual NAACP allegation of

The usual NAACP allegation of discrimination without any facts to prove it. I believe that from what I read about dscipline problems locally, it appears that blacks have the worst cases/most serious violations in our schools as well a crime. So now, attack me as racist.

corgimom
38240
Points
corgimom 06/18/09 - 09:17 am
0
0
No, it would also be

No, it would also be explained by the horrendously high black illegitimacy rate, the lack of positive male role models in the low-income black community, the fact that 1 in 6 blacks are on welfare compared to 1 in 340 whites, the "urban" culture that emphasizes violence and thug values, the lack of value that many blacks place on education, the high number of black children living with criminals, and the racism that blacks have towards whites- "you are picking on my precious baby because you are white and he is black" when it has nothing to do with race and every thing to do with inappropriate behavior.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 06/18/09 - 09:23 am
0
0
Idiotic NAACP and their lame

Idiotic NAACP and their lame atempts to keep black youth from having to follow the rules like every other race. Instead of trying to say the shcools are punishing inappropriately, how about looking at the lack of parental discipline in the home environment and actually do something to rectify this very real problem. When you look at boys to girls, boys are disciplined more as well but that is not because of discrimination it is becuae they break the rules more often. And if you look at the Asians, who probably only make up 2% or so of the student population, you will see that they rarely if ever get in trouble compared to their white counterparts. This is just a fact of life so lets work to solve the real problem - lack of personal responsibility and acountability and wishing to look for blame where it shouldn't lie.

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 06/18/09 - 09:27 am
0
0
If they will make an issue

If they will make an issue about black vs. white, then they need to investigate the same with boys vs. girls. I'm so sick of racial issues being brought into every aspect of our lives. Kids are suspended for misbehaving....whether purple, blue, black, or white. It is what it is, and no investigation can prove that any discrimination exists.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 06/18/09 - 09:33 am
0
0
...nothing new here and here
Unpublished

...nothing new here and here is another one: If properly studied, it can be shown that minorities are harmed throughout courts rulings, employment opportunities, and even when the SSA rules on SSI (the disability one) because the standards are subjective and those making the "determination" are U know who. More African-Americans are probably denied benefits based on ethnicity rather then being unqualified for the benifits requested. Don't believe it? Betha can't find a human alive to even gather those numbers, because the evidence would support a growing reality, much like the stats revealed in this story. Yep, "we've" long know our kids were being punished unfairly, which sets them up for future problems down the road. The next step is to establish goals that will deter teachers from exercising such poor decision-making and train them to treat each student equally. Why? It clearly stated in the Constitution.

AAQueen
18
Points
AAQueen 06/18/09 - 09:42 am
0
0
For some reasome when NAACP

For some reasome when NAACP is mentioned everyone gets in an uproar. No matter what you want to believe there's still racism in America and the school system. Maybe it is a matter of just discipline. If not then it should be revealed. NAACP are, "urging parents and school officials to take a closer look to find out why blacks are suspended in such high numbers." Nothing wrong with that. At least smething beneficial came out of it for all students "Suspended students would be required to attend a program called the Successfully Engaging Youth Day to get help on school work or receive tutoring in critical subjects, like reading,'

CarlA
114
Points
CarlA 06/18/09 - 09:49 am
0
0
The NAACP needs to look at

The NAACP needs to look at why and not claim racism. Here we go again with the lack of accountability for minority youth. It's never their fault, just the system trying to hold them down. With that attitude there will never be any real progress.

TORTURE
0
Points
TORTURE 06/18/09 - 10:07 am
0
0
To all the posted comments

To all the posted comments about the NAACP your kind of people are still living,thinking in the" Jim Crow "era them days are gone. Its the Black House now not the White House .And the NAACP mission remains as clear and righteous as ever."To give all students in public schools equal and quality educational opportunities by ensuring school resources are equity"

Little Lamb
48864
Points
Little Lamb 06/18/09 - 10:26 am
0
0
I guess we'll need to set up

I guess we'll need to set up quota systems for discipline. If 70% of suspensions go to boys, then enough girls have to be suspended (even though they did nothing wrong) to get the male rate back down to 50%. Same thing with the black & white percentages.

KSL
143271
Points
KSL 06/18/09 - 10:26 am
0
0
Torture, your name fits.

Torture, your name fits.

Naysayer
0
Points
Naysayer 06/18/09 - 10:32 am
0
0
They only way this should be

They only way this should be news is if one race was being penalized more severely for the same offense than another race. Otherwise...this is not news...however, it does fuel the racial fire that has been buring Augusta for years...so...its news by default.

corgimom
38240
Points
corgimom 06/18/09 - 10:37 am
0
0
"even when the SSA rules on

"even when the SSA rules on SSI (the disability one) because the standards are subjective and those making the "determination" are U know who." Well, Justus, U know who at SSA denied my claim for disability twice and I had to sue them to get my benefits. And I'm white. So how does that fit into your picture of racism? Why did I get denied, since I'm white? I guess you haven't been to the SSA lately, because there are a lot of U know who workers that dont look white to me, and it's been like that in every SSA building I've ever been in. You're right, nothing new here, just more of the junk that you make up that is just plain wrong.

j2says
3
Points
j2says 06/18/09 - 10:57 am
0
0
Right Naysayer. It's amazing

Right Naysayer. It's amazing how quick many of the posters were to jump to the conclusion that the black kids get in more trouble. The key info which is either missing from the study or the article is are these black kids being punished more severely for similar crimes. If so, then there is an issue to address. If not then there is still an issue to address concerning these specific kids behavior and why poor behavior is so prevalent however that's a community issue more than a school issue.

Naysayer
0
Points
Naysayer 06/18/09 - 11:00 am
0
0
No where in the constitution,

No where in the constitution, JustUs, does it mention anything about the government providing an education at all (that i've seen.) I'm a white male and I fought for 4 months to get my, now wife, benefits for peachcare. I guess its all because my race? No, I would assume that its the "employees" of the office we went to that where just plain out horrible at their jobs. Otherwise they'd be working elsewhere. You are the sabator of your own cause.

Naysayer
0
Points
Naysayer 06/18/09 - 11:08 am
0
0
I'd suggest all of you to

I'd suggest all of you to watch the HBO series "John Adams." Refresh yourself on what made this country. The Crown was not overthrown to entitle goverment people to money and education, but rather to promote an environment to which we could work and gain those things ourselves.

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 06/18/09 - 11:43 am
0
0
Justus, you speak as if

Justus, you speak as if teachers get up each morning thinking "How many black students can I get suspended today?" If a student breaks a rule to the point where suspension is warranted, he/she must have done something more than talking in class. Please give teachers the respect they deserve. No teacher wants to see students missing school for any reason, no matter what color they are.

DonH
13
Points
DonH 06/18/09 - 11:58 am
0
0
How unrelated can you get.

How unrelated can you get. This racial comparison is over 50 years out of date. What are the underlying conditions of those school suspensions? Could it be that more black students have anti-authority sentiments than white students? Many of these problems come down to attitudes and basic family values. Students reflect what they are taught at home as well as what they learn in a classroom. Let's get real with the comparisons and start looking at the root causes of these problems. I think we will find that it's not a racial issue after all. More like a social-economic issue.

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 06/18/09 - 12:00 pm
0
0
My son's first year in school

My son's first year in school in Richmond Co and he came home one day and asked why black kids act bad. He was only six and is from a bi-racial family himself. It isn't racism.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 06/18/09 - 12:09 pm
0
0
Justus4, what exactly have

Justus4, what exactly have you ever done that was positive for the black community? And, when have you ever asked anyone to accept personal responsibility and acountability? Your woe is me attitude is what keeps people of all races down. Sit around on your butt whining about what everyone does to you vs. doing anything for yourself. Your views are pathetic and bring our nation and your race down. If you wanted to actually make things better, you would put the blame truely where it lies, on the individual. Anyone can acheive anything in this country and yes, black people can behave, follow rules, get jobs without the governmnet, start businesses with very easy SBA rules for minorities, etc. so without being enabled there is plenty of opportunity. Most young educated black individuals realize this and laugh at people such as you and the NAACP who wish to live in the past and fear monger all of the time as well as hate all government rules and regulations but take all government tax money any way possible.

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 06/18/09 - 12:31 pm
0
0
The NAACP need to sue GA.

The NAACP need to sue GA. Lets get all the facts out there. Then we can see if its racially motivated or if it is what it is.

420Time
0
Points
420Time 06/18/09 - 01:25 pm
0
0
Most of you ignoramuses

Most of you ignoramuses should read the report. If the report compared apples to apples (ie like violations w/ like violations) and found a disparity then it is a valid point. Especially if there were not any other mitigating circumstances or past violation to justify harsher punishment. So if a Black kid and a White kid are sent to the office for the same offense and the Black kid is suspended then there is discrimination. However if the Black kid has been involved in earlier fights prior to the latest suspension then no discrimination exists. If the NAACP constructed the study correctly they are correct. Similar to southern school districts creating A, B, C, D classes and placing all upper class white kids in the A classes, middle/working class whites in B whild the C & D classes contained poor White kids and all Black kids regardless of test scores. In-house segregation.

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