Statement of Commissioner Gail Heriot in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report: Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities
16 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2019
Date Written: 2019
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. This Statement is part of that report.
In the report, the Commission finds "Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers …." That would be a good thing if it were true, but there is no evidence to support it and abundant evidence to the contrary. "This Statement discusses that evidence. Denying facts is not helpful to students, no matter what their race or ethnicity."
The report also asserts that students with disabilities are disciplined more often than students without disabilities. But it leaves the impression that this means students with physical disabilities are being disproportionately disciplined. That isn’t true. It is students with behavioral disorder who misbehave more often (and hence are disciplined more often). But behavioral disorders are defined by a pattern of misbehavior. All the Commission has found is that student who misbehave a lot get disciplined more often than students who don’t. No surprise there.
Keywords: school discipline, race, disabilities, rates of misbehavior, civil rights, Commission on Civil Rights
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation