University of Pittsburgh Study Finds Huge Racial Gap in K-12 School Suspensions

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Race and Social Problems documents racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions at public schools in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The research showed that Black students are suspended seven times as often as non-Black students at these schools. Suburban districts tended to have some of the highest racial differences in school suspensions.

James P. Huguley, assistant professor of social work at University of Pittsburgh and the lead author of the study, believes that the Just Discipline Model could transform public schools in Allegheny and reduce the racial disparities will suspensions. The program places an emphasis on race and social context and counters old disciplinary practices with more appropriate restorative practices.

“More than 80 percent of our districts have problems with either overall suspension use, racial disparities in those suspensions or both,” said Dr. Huguley. “Our region has a problem that is not only a social justice issue, but also an economic one that is hampering our well-being and our future.”

Dr. Huguley received a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Providence College. He also holds a master’s degree in education and an educational doctorate from Harvard University.

The full report, Just Discipline and the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Greater Pittsburgh: Local Challenges and Promising Solutions, may be downloaded by clicking here

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