Schools that suspend more students have more of them end up in jail
Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images
- Schools with strict disciplinary measures, like suspension, are more likely to have students that are later incarcerated or arrested as adults, new research indicates.
- A paper authored by researchers at Boston University, Harvard University, and the University of Colorado finds that children that attend schools with higher rates of suspension are about 15% to 20% more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as adults.
- Researchers derived their findings from student suspensions and incarceration and arrest data in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
- Black and Hispanic students are also more likely to be arrested as adults if they go to strict schools.
- The report finds that for Black or Hispanic students, going to a
schoolthat uses strict discipline increases the likelihood they will get detention by 0.43 days, almost twice as much as for non-minority students. Lead researcher Andrew Bacher-Hicks told Business Insider that the paper will be presented at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference later this month.
- This research suggests discipline and suspension plays a major part in the school-to-prison pipeline, the national trend where students, typically Black students from low-income neighborhoods, are sent to prison or juvenile detention due to overcriminalization in schools.
- Past research suggests suspensions and "zero tolerance" school discipline disproportionately send Black students to prisons or juvenile detention. In 2015, the University of Pennsylvania found that Black children account for 24% of students in 3,022 southern school districts, but made up anywhere between 75% to 100% of suspensions and expulsions.
- School suspensions and expulsions also go into disciplinary reports, which get sent to colleges and universities and can hinder a student's success, per the Center for Community Alternatives.
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