Maryland County Sees Drop in Suspensions of Black Students

After the NAACP filed a formal complaint against Anne Arundel County schools last year for their allegedly disparate treatment of Black students, the district found solutions to turn the statistics around.

Amid high Black suspension rates and pressure from the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice, school officials in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County took a serious second look at how they were disciplining students.

Now, after a study of discipline at the district’s schools and implementing targeted changes in how teachers handle unruly students, an in-house audit team reported a nearly 40 percent decrease in the number of African-American students receiving suspensions during the 2011-2012 school year. The Baltimore Sun reports:


“Audit team member Carlesa Finney, director of the school system's office of equity assurance and human relations, said that the team found numbers were high among some student groups because a small number within each group would receive multiple referrals. She said that the audit team suggested approaches such as interventions with the student, assisting teachers with classroom management, and engaging the classroom in instruction.

"Teachers' responses in classrooms are so inconsistent and different that for some kids, they respond to them differently for some of the same behaviors," said Finney, who presented the findings with Arlen Liverman, Anne Arundel deputy superintendent of schools.

Disrespect, disruption or insubordination referrals for African-American students in Anne Arundel middle and high schools fell 27 percent overall last year from the previous year. Among African-American middle-school students, the numbers fell 23 percent last year from the previous year; at high school, there was a reduction of 32 percent.

Referrals for out-of-school suspensions for African-Americans overall fell 37 percent, officials said. Among middle-school students, suspensions resulting from disrespect, disruption and insubordination dropped 50 percent; for high schools it dropped 29 percent.”

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Baltimore Sun/ MCT /LANDOV)

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