In 2018, a federal report indicated that Black students in the United States saw higher rates of suspension, expulsion and arrest than white classmates. Massachusetts was just one state showing evidence of this disparity as during the 2018-2019 school year, 3% of all students and 2% of white students received an out of school suspension compared to 6.2% of Black students (and 5% of Hispanic/Latino students). I pulled the report on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website and looked filtered by districts schools with suspension rates of 20% or more for Black students; below is what I found.
(Note: while Phoenix Academy Charter is considered a district by the state, it is a single school enrolling students in grades 9 - 12).
% Out-of-School Suspension
Adams-Cheshire - Hoosac Valley Middle School
Bellingham - Bellingham High School
Boston - Clarence R Edwards Middle
Boston - Community Academy
Boston - Excel High School
Boston - William McKinley
Brockton - Frederick Douglass Academy
Brockton - Huntington Therapeutic Day School
Fall River - Resiliency Preparatory Academy
Fall River - Talbot Innovation School
Lowell - The Career Academy
Lynn - Lynn English High
Medford - Madeleine Dugger Andrews
New Bedford - New Bedford High
New Bedford - Normandin Middle School
New Bedford - Roosevelt Middle School
New Bedford - Whaling City Junior/Senior High School
Phoenix Charter Academy (District) - Phoenix Charter Academy
Pittsfield - John T Reid Middle
Pittsfield - Taconic High
Rockland - John W Rogers Middle
Springfield - Impact Prep at Chestnut
Springfield - John F Kennedy Middle
Springfield - M Marcus Kiley Middle
Springfield - South End Middle School
Wareham - Wareham Senior High
In total, there were 26 schools that met this criteria with Whaling City Junior/Senior High School in New Bedford posting the highest suspension rate here at 43.6% that school year. At the district level, Phoenix Academy Charter which appears on the list above was the only 'district' with a suspension rate above 20%; there were, however, 31 districts with suspension rates for Black students above 10% including Bellingham, Clinton, Gloucester, Palmer and Wareham.
As the conversation around systemic racism and black lives expands to continue the conversations around education and housing and environmental justice, interest in the suspension rates of students of color in terms of consequences such as dropping out and the school-to-prison pipeline needs to consider how to address this issue as far as alternatives to this kind of punishment but more importantly, the specific factors that are resulting in this disparity in a way that makes school a positive experience for all children.
Data from: www.doe.mass.edu