Black Girls Face Alarmingly High Rates of School Suspension

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Quite frequently do we discuss the challenges that Black boys face in the classroom, but a new study released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights compels us to think about how racial discrimination in schools disproportionately affects Black girls.

The study, compiled from data from 2011 and 2012 in 97,000 public schools across the country, found that Black children are suspended at shockingly high rates.

Note: Each of the graphs below come directly from the report

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12% of Black girls received an out of school suspension compared to only 2% of white girls. While 20% of Black boys have been suspended compared to 6% of white boys.

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Most disturbing are the rates at which Black preschool aged children are suspended. According to the report:
Of the school districts with children participating in preschool programs, 6% reported suspending out of school at least one preschool child. Racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions also start early; black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, but 42% of the preschool children suspended once, and 48% of the preschool children suspended more than once.
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“This critical report shows that racial disparities in school discipline policies are not only well-documented among older students, but actually begin during preschool,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Every data point represents a life impacted and a future potentially diverted or derailed. This Administration is moving aggressively to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in order to ensure that all of our young people have equal educational opportunities.”

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or

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