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Behind the Eight Ball: The Effects of Race and Number of Infractions on the Severity of Exclusionary Discipline Sanctions Issued in Secondary School

NCJ Number
Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Dated: 2020
Jamilia J. Blake; Danielle M. Smith; Asha Unni; Miner P. Marchbanks III; Steve Wood; John M. Eason
Date Published
9 pages
This study examined whether discrepancies in the number of school disciplinary cases resulted from a difference in the number of infractions students of different racial/ethnic groups and disability categories committed.
African American and Hispanic students receive more punitive school discipline than White students, even when students of color commit similar infractions as Whites. Similarly, students with a disability status are more likely to experience harsher discipline in schools compared to their counterparts without a disability label. In examining this issue, the current study used secondary educational data from a state educational agency in the United States. The study determined that African American and Hispanic students, as well as students with an emotional behavioral disorder received more severe sanctions than White students and students without a disability label at their first discipline encounter. This racial disparity in discipline severity continued through six sanctions and was eliminated at the 13th sanction. The disability disparity in discipline severity dissipated after 10 sanctions for students with emotional behavioral disorder and intellectual disability. Implications for school personnel and future directions are discussed. 53 references (publisher abstract modified)