By Stephen Magagnini and Maya Pottiger
Sacramento County has become the Suspension Capital of California when it comes to Black suspensions. The reasons for suspension include: violent behavior causing injury to violent behavior without injury; drug offenses; weapons; defiant behavior. Here’s a look at four school districts and the reasons given by school officials:
At Sac City Unified, white and Latino students were between two and three times more likely to be suspended for drugs and one to two times more likely for weapons possession than Black students.
In the 2018/2019 school year, Black and Latino students were suspended for defiance at more than twice the rate of white students. In the following school year, which was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, defiance-related suspensions dropped more than 150%.
Elk Grove data indicates Black students were most commonly suspended for violent incidents with no injuries, followed by violent Incidents causing injury (in the 2018/2019 school year. In t2019/2020, which was moved online in March, defiance was the leading reason Black students were suspended at 46%, followed closely by violent incidents with no at 45%.
Those rates weren’t substantially different than those for Latino and white students. In fact, white students were about twice as likely to be suspended for both weapons and illicit drugs.
Black Elk Grove students were still suspended at much higher rates than white and Latino students. Between the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, 12.9% of the Black student population was suspended, compared to 5% of Hispanic students and 3% of white students.
Twin Rivers data showed Black students were most typically suspended for violent incidents with injury, followed by non-injury violence in 2019/2020, with the reverse for the 2018/2019.
Black students are suspended for violent injury at least 10% more than white or Latino students, and white students are at least 5% more likely to be suspended for Violent Incident (No Injury) than their peers. White students are more than three times as likely to get suspended for weapons possession than Black students.
Again, Black students are suspended at much higher rates than white and Hispanic students. Between the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 school years, 14.4% of the Black student population was suspended, compared to 5.5% of Hispanic students and 7% of white students.
San Juan data found Black students were most commonly suspended for Violent Incident (No Injury), followed by Defiance Only in both the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 school years.
Black students were suspended for violent incidents, both with and without injury, at higher rates than their peers. The gap that existed in the 2018/2019 school year grew in the 2019/2020 school year in both categories. When it comes to Illicit Drug Related, Hispanic and white students are more than twice as likely to be suspended than their Black peers. Yet again, Black students were suspended at much higher rates. Between the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, 13% of the Black student population was suspended, compared to 5% of Latino student and 4.1% of white students.
Support for this Sacramento OBSERVER article was provided to Word In Black (WIB) by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. WIB is a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media that includes print and digital partners.