Black students and students with disabilities are suspended, expelled, arrested, and referred to police at rates disproportionately higher than white and non-disabled students, according to a recent investigation by the NBC News Investigative Unit. Using nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2013-2014 school year, the analysis revealed that black students without a disability were 2.3 times more likely to be referred to law enforcement while at school than white students without a disability. Black students with disabilities were 2.8 times more likely to be arrested while at school than white students with disabilities.
“Certain kids get counseling,” said Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson. “Certain kids get wraparound services. Other kids get juvenile detention,” she noted. Hutchinson successfully introduced a bill in the legislature requiring the state Board of Education to make discipline data public and requiring districts to address significant disparities in discipline.