A few months ago, I wrote a column entitled “Why We Need Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance,” which talked about how the current practice of suspending or expelling chlidren from school may be doing more harm than good. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees, adding that removing a child from school should be a rare last resort and not a routine punishment for bullying, drug use or other infractions.
The US Department of Education confirmed what a lot of people have been saying for years: Black students—especially boys—are disciplined much more harshly than other students. The study looked at public school kids kindergarten through 12th grade. According the Department of Ed, only 18 percent of students were black, but they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, almost half of those suspended more than once, and almost 40 percent of all expulsions. Twice as many boys (1 in 5) were suspended as girls (1 in 10).