Photo by Black Rock Solar, Flickr Creative CommonsPhoto by Black Rock Solar, Flickr Creative CommonsIn a new report issued by the Civil Rights Project at University of California, Los Angeles,"Out of School & Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools," Daniel J. Losen and Tia Elena Martinez analyze data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools. In their executive summary, they write:

[W]e estimate that well over two million students were suspended during the 2009-2010 academic year. This means that one out of every nine secondary school students was suspended at least once during that year. As other studies demonstrate, the vast majority of suspensions are for minor infractions of school rules, such as disrupting class, tardiness, and dress code violations, rather than for serious violent or criminal behavior. Serious incidents are rare and result in expulsions, which are not covered by this report.

Given the recent research showing that being suspended even once in ninth grade is associated with a twofold increase in the likelihood of dropping out, from 16% for those not suspended to 32% for those suspended just once (Balfanz, 2013), the high number of students suspended, as presented in this report, should be of grave concern to all parents, educators, taxpayers, and policymakers.

A graph from the executive summary shows that since the 1970s suspension rates for black and Latino students have doubled, the rate for white students has remained flat.

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More information about the report and supporting documents may be found here.

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