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Oregon School Suspensions Follow National Pattern Of Racial Bias

OPB | March 21, 2014 3:34 p.m. | Portland

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The U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division issued a report Friday, finding students of color are more likely to be disciplined than white students.

Nationally, the report finds African-American students are suspended or expelled at three times the rate of their white classmates.

It’s a similar trend in Oregon, says the state department of education spokeswoman, Crystal Greene.

“For example, African-American students represent 2.5 percent of the school-aged population in the state, but they represent 6.5 percent of all discipline incidents,” Greene said. “So you can see, there’s a significant disproportionality there. This type of disparity is really unacceptable.”

The new report finds that Oregon schools suspended more than one in five African-American male students during the 2011-12 school year. The rate for white male students was one in twenty.

Oregon’s own calculations found a slightly lower suspension rate for African-American boys than the feds documented. Oregon officials say the rate came down slightly last school year, but still needs work.

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