Texas Study Raises Questions about School Discipline

The study linked these disciplinary actions to lower rates of graduation and higher rates of later criminal activity and found that minority students were more likely than whites to face the more severe punishments.

“In the last 20 to 25 years, there have been dramatic increases in the number of suspensions and expulsions,” said Michael Thompson, who headed the study as director of the Justice Center at the Council of State Governments, a nonpartisan group. “This quantifies how you’re in the minority if you have not been removed from the classroom at least once. This is not just being sent to the principal’s office, and it’s not after-school detention or weekend detention or extra homework. This is in the student’s record.”

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4 comments on “Texas Study Raises Questions about School Discipline

  1. montanan says:

    Fascinating. It raises some questions. First, of course, is chicken or egg; cause or linked phenomena? Kids with more serious infractions of rules in school – particularly those seen to require removal for others’ safety – are more likely to have serious infractions of the law in society. The second is the troubling statistic about blacks and latinos having a higher rate of suspension on first infraction than whites, particularly in the face of this statement in the article: “We have enough data to show that it’s more than just poverty and any greater misbehavior.” We homeschool (nobody gets ‘out of school suspension’!), so my interest is entirely academic (pun semi-intended).

  2. Marie Blocher says:

    Living in Texas, I’m not surprised that certain minority students have a higher level of disciplinary action. That certain minority students grow up with parents who disregard laws regarding illegal entry into this country, the need for automobile insurance, etc., so the students grow up with a general disregard for authority, both educational and civil. That distian
    for authority in the classroom or principal’s office prompts harsher sentences of punishment for what appears on paper to be the same crime. Still the more time out of the classroom, for any group, the more likely the student is to get so far behind that passing the current grade level or graduation becomes too great a task. Immigrant groups who value education teach their children to do whatever it takes to succeed in the classroom. Other groups see the teenager out of school as an additional worker to help feed the family.

  3. kmh1 says:

    Aren’t Chinese, Vietnamese and Jews minority groups too?
    They seem to be doing OK in education. Why?

  4. Catholic Mom says:

    I live in an affluent school district that is 60% Asian. One of our elementary schools has a new principal. About two months ago a 6 year old Chinese girl took a bottle of bottled water that she had brought from home into the cafeteria. When she went to check out she did not indicate the water as one of the items she was purchasing. (They check themselves out using a pre-paid card under the eye of the cafeteria ladies.) A cafeteria lady went over to here and told her she needed to pay for the water. She told the lady that she had brought it from home. The cafeteria lady sent her to the principal who wrung a “confession” from her that she had “stolen” it. She had to draw a picture showing herself stealing it and then writing about how she felt about it. [Apparently the Chinese re-education camps have nothing on us.] When she went home she told her parents. Needless to say they went balistic. They called the superintendent of schools and demanded an investigation. Sure enough a bunch of kids had seen her carrying the water into the cafeteria. (One might have thought that the parents’ word that they sent it in with her would be sufficient.)

    If a 6 year old girl can be “criminalized” in one of the best school districts in NJ, I would say an inner-city male doesn’t stand much of a chance of graduating without a run-in with the system.