In recent years here in California, there have been many efforts by the state and individual school districts to try to lower the use of suspensions at schools and address fairness issues related to this type of disciplinary action. What has happened with suspension levels in the state in the wake of such efforts?
Well, recent statistics indicate that out-of-school suspensions have gone down significantly in the state in recent years. According to the statistics, between 2012 and 2015, the annual number of such suspensions at California public schools dropped from 539,134 to 334,649.
The statistics also, however, suggest that fairness concerns still remain. For one, they point to there continuing to be significant racial disparities when it comes to suspensions. The statistics indicate that, here in California, black students were suspended at a considerably higher rate than students from other ethnic groups in 2015.
One wonders what steps to further address concerns related to fairness in the use of suspensions will be taken in the state moving forward.
Now, race is not the only thing that fairness concerns regarding school suspensions can come up in relation to. Such concerns can also be present regarding the treatment of students with disabilities. Parents who have special needs kids who are facing a suspension or other disciplinary actions at school might be very worried about whether their child might be exposed to excessive punishment that will hurt their chances of getting the education they need.
When their child is facing disciplinary actions at school, it can be important for parents of kids with disabilities to understand their child’s rights. Another thing it can be crucial for them to know is what steps they as a parent can take to safeguard their child’s best interests during disciplinary proceedings. Guidance on these matters is among the things special education lawyers can provide parents of special needs students.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “California's schools suspensions are down, but black students still face higher suspension rates,” Joy Resmovits, March 21, 2017