Suspensions and Minnesota Schools

Yesterday, I wrote about a series of incidents in which disabled children, mostly non-white, whose stories of arrest and abuse in Florida schools have become national news. These stories pair with policies from DC that increase the criminalization in our schools, drive parents to private schools, where they have to surrender their rights. I made it clear it was a national issue, but focused on Florida because lawmakers were pushing more guns into schools and adding more mental health services. The latter are great, in theory, but doing so in the context of mass violence continues the false association of violence with mental illness. It’s a tough read, I found (as did some readers), but I tried to make some connections visible around the #CultOfCompliance.

Late in the afternoon, then, I came across a similar story from Minnesota.

Students of color and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from Minnesota schools than their white peers or students without disabilities, a new study reveals.

The statewide analysis, released Friday by the state’s Department of Human Rights, showed that students of color accounted for 66 percent of all school suspensions and expulsions in the 2015-16 school year, even though they make up only 31 percent of Minnesota’s student population.

Disabled students were involved in 43 percent of all suspensions and expulsions, but make up only 14 percent of the student population.

“For some schools, this information was somewhat surprising; they hadn’t examined this before,” Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said. “I’m hoping, by us raising the awareness, it does stay front and center for people in Minnesota. I think there are a lot of folks in the state who want kids to succeed. Hopefully we’ll see the disparities drop.”

If this is a surprise to schools, they haven’t been paying attention to both state and national trends. 

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