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Report: Disabled, Minority Students Bear Brunt Of Disciplinary Policies

An analysis of 85 percent of school districts in the country finds that minority and disabled students have felt the brunt of disciplinary action.

NPR's Claudio Sanchez filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Researchers with the civil rights project at University of California, Los Angeles examined disciplinary policies in 7,000 districts and found that from 2009-2010, one in six black students was suspended at least once. Compared to 1 in 25 white students. The reasons? Foul language, disruptive behavior, fighting and tardiness.

"The most alarming figure, according to the report, was that in 400 districts, one in four children with disabilities was suspended at least once, often for reasons related to their disability. The report singles out 200 school districts for particularly harsh disciplinary policies that disproportionately punishes black, latino and disabled kids."

The report notes that black students with disabilities are especially vulnerable. Nationwide, 25 percent of them faced suspension at least once.

This is a big deal, The Civil Rights Project said in a press release, because out of school suspensions lead to a higher risk that students end up in the juvenile justice system.

Also, these findings aren't telling us much that's new. Back in March, we reported that the Education Department sifted through similar data and found that "70 percent of cases referred to police in school-related issues involved black or Hispanic students." That report also found that black students were more than three times as likely to be suspended than their white peers.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.