As an appeals court noted in 2001, a racial “disparity” in suspension rates “does not, by itself, constitute discrimination,” because it may just reflect student behavior. In 1997, judges struck down a rule against referring “a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline,” because that’s a racial quota.
Researchers such as Max Eden found that black kids suffer most when schools curb discipline to cut black suspension rates. That’s because classmates of a disruptive or violent student are often of the same race as the offender. Keeping chronic offenders in class prevents their classmates from learning and being safe.
Hans Bader, Arlington
The writer is a former
Education Department lawyer.