By: Krystle Crossman
A report that was published in California recently has shown that black students have higher levels of truancy than any other group and that they are also punished more than any other group. It is another report that shows the huge racial divide in schools. Black students do not have the same access to high-quality education like other groups do. They are often punished far more than other students for minor infractions.
Truancy is defined as missing school without a valid excuse or being more than half an hour late without an excuse at least three times per year. The report showed that black students were truant more than any other group of students but they also missed twice as many days as other groups because of suspensions. In first and second grade alone they were suspended three times more than white students.
Daniel Losen is a civil rights leader at UCLA and says that he hopes that California Governor Jerry Brown will look at the results of this report and many others that have been published and sign a bill that eliminates the “willful defiance” excuse as a reason to suspend a student. Even though President Obama called out to the schools in the country and told them to forego their over-zealous punishments, willful defiance is still used as an excuse to suspend students in schools all around the county. It is such a broad topic that students can commit the tiniest infraction and be suspended for it because the teachers will say that they are being willfully defiant.
Black students have more barriers than other races that prevent them from getting to school such as poverty, homelessness, and transportation problems. These barriers lead to more absences in school. Research has found that students that start being truant at young ages are more likely to drop out of school or fail out as they go along. The study conducted found that 37% of the black students were considered truant. More than 33,000 of those students missed at least 10% of the school year. Hopefully this data is looked at carefully and representatives in the government will try to do something to alleviate the gap between the races.