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Why Are Black Students Punished Harsher Than Whites for The Same Offenses?

By Yolanda Spivey

When it comes to disciplining a child in school, the issue of race comes into play—and The Department of  Justice and Department of Education have now recognized this discriminatory practice that has plagued minority children for decades.

Studies show that African American students are punished more harshly and frequently than white students who may commit the same offenses. The Department of Education states that in their studies, African American children are more likely to be suspended for minor infractions, and also, 50 percent of students who are arrested at school are Black even though Black students do not make up 50% of the population. Black students also make up 76 percent of students who are physically restrained by adults in school.

Recently, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and Attorney General, Eric Holder, jointly announced an initiative to address the issue of discriminatory discipline within American schools. The federal school discipline guidance will provide positive discipline policies that will be aimed at ending misguided and discriminatory policies that are used in schools across America.

Here are a few of the key principals that schools must abide by:

  • Training all school staff to apply school discipline policies and practices in a fair and equitable manner so as not to disproportionately impact students of color, students with disabilities, or at-risk students.
  • Ensuring that school-based law enforcement is not involved in minor disciplinary matters.
  • Ensuring that schools that do not have campus-based security avoid involving law enforcement or encouraging law enforcement techniques, such as arrest, citations, tickets, or court referrals in routine disciplinary matters.
  • Prioritizing the use of evidence-based prevention strategies to promote positive student behavior.
  • Instructing them that federal civil rights laws prohibit both different treatment and disparate impact based on race in the application of school discipline.

Eric Holder is hoping that schools start to better understand their civil rights obligations and avoid unfair disciplinary practices.  A simple disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office and not in a police precinct.

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14 thoughts on “Why Are Black Students Punished Harsher Than Whites for The Same Offenses?

    • Devo

      I believe this. Plus you have black wen my age who were teen mothers and didnt know how to raise kids.. Now those kids are undisciplined and unruly. Teachers spend most of their day disciplining kids who have no.home training and if someone from the school.contacts these mothers they catch attitdudes with the teachers. The kids sperm donors are MIA and their mothers cant handle them. I can see why teachers are leaving urban schools to teach at either private schools or public schools in upper middle class or upper class communities. They arent equipped to deal with unruly.children and they shouldnt have to.

      • Redbone


        I’m a witness, my mother is a retired teacher K-6… I couldn’t wait for my mother to retire. I always told her: (they will kill you and the School Dist won’t think anything of it, but they’ll have another teacher in your place within 24 hrs). My father was always trying to get his 5 children to become teachers… REALLY!!! The ministry was enough for me, now I’m free…

  1. Terry Wilson

    WOW , It’s about time . So let me get this straight , They finally looked at the numbers or stats after decades and realized this discriminating practice ? Bullshit ! As the article reads , it’s been going on for DECADES ! You know what burns me ? A lot of African American Parents (Mothers ) believe whatever the teachers say . Mine was included . Some children ARE a challenge but not more than a lot of White children who can actually curse a teacher out , and all he receives is a time out and a phone call to the parents . I’m sure that people will comb me up and down with their comments . Because we all get on the internet and tell the world how BAD our children are and how THEY REALLY NEED A WHOOPING !

    • Redbone

      @Terry Wilson…
      The white children are just as out of control as the African American children, most times they are worse because they’re parents are the biggest chemical dependent drug users on the planet and they also practice Wicka which is a form of witch-craft and their very very open with it… oh!! and you can also add racist to that. I’m speaking of elementary school age children… I’ve seen it all and more visiting and helping my mother in her class rooms. I home schooled my last child to save him from school kids gone mad of all races even in the upper-class neighborhoods… and it was worth it.
      Today the good kids are kicked out of school and the bad kids are in… I was willing to allow my youngest son to attend a disciplinary school just to keep him protected because they have school police on site. But when the white Dist heard my request the school Dist Supt said my son had to be Home Schooled… Really!!! Everybody making comments here seem to have a point, its now a no win situation.
      The best way out of all these ugly unfair situations is to clearly HOME SCHOOL your children. I am a witness, children who are home schooled have more manors, are more mentally stable, make better grades, are not stressed out by peer-pressure, are more focused as to where they want to go in their career, more parent intervention, home schooling just has positive endless possibilities.
      The only draw-back these days is the white system is going to start fighting back harder and harder due to less funding per child no-longer attending public schools, and I’m loving every last bit of it… Many teachers are not teaching our black children anyway… so what do we have to lose by taking our babies out of the public school system… Teachers are not God, they are human being who have bad days too, they drink, drug, fornicate, adultry, molest, physically abuse, emotionally abuse, and some of them are being abused in their own homes by their spouses… its endless / People its just wake-up time…. we are living in that day.

  2. Annat

    No it’s also happening to kids who are not “undisciplined”. Even when Back kids do not start or cause the conflict or problem, they are almost always punished or suspended along with the white student. Also, when Black kids report a problem with other students, teachers are less likely to intervene or come to the Black student’s defense. Please understand that there are just as many troubled kids from two parent households as there are from single parent households. Single moms are raising well-behaved and smart kids…just like President Obama’s mom.

  3. A. G.

    In most places schools are ran by and for White Folks! The superintendent, the principal, the teachers and the board all White folks and as usual they are going to take care of their own, plus these people have no idea as to how they should talk or deal with Black Children. They are not really handling their White kids or there would not be so many shootings by White kids in Schools! Have you noticed that 99% of school shootings are done by White kids?

  4. chantaey

    Because we have the God power to do so and mixed with the fear power, we can be quite punishing to ourselves by sheer volition of the movement of power if no one is on guard or moving and standing in righteous judgment in every place. Also, the way we have helped the illiterate non-god races- we havegiven them mercy.

  5. Pingback: Why Are Black Students Punished Harsher Than Wh...


    Perhaps….there are excuses, however I think the bottom line is there is NO REAL LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND TOLERANCE FOR BLACK CHILDREN. I would like to be proven wrong!!!!!

  7. The Real Truth

    Black have an average IQ and are much more violent and aggressive. That is reality. Spin the truth away all you want, the truth remains.


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