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Report Reveals Stark Racial Disparities In LI School Suspensions

Danny Johnston

Black public school students on Long Island are five times more likely to be suspended than white students, according to a new study.

The “Stolen Time” report finds that black students are not more likely to engage in misbehavior, but they are more likely to be suspended for it.

Paula White, the executive director for the non-profit Educators for Excellence, one of the organizations that commissioned the study, said punishing students with suspension just doesn’t work.

“We can’t teach children who are not in school for whatever reason. So when the school is itself perpetuating excluding children from the academic program, then that becomes problematic. The message to the kid is that they don’t belong in school.”

White said a teacher’s perception of insubordination can be racially tinged, so educators need to be aware of their biases when they dole out punishments.

She said even one suspension is enough to harm a student’s chances of graduating from high school.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.