Report: Missouri Schools Are Far More Likely to Discipline Black Students


By Belinda Post

A new report from the ACLU of Missouri says black students and students with disabilities are far more likely than whites to face school discipline, including corporal punishment, suspension and expulsion.

The report said Missouri schools suspend black students 4.5 times more than white students. This figure surpasses the national average of 3.8 times, which is still far from equal.

The ACLU said between 2011 and 2014, the rate of Missouri students expelled from school doubled overall.

Other findings by the ACLU include the following:

  • Black students with disabilities are more than three times more likely to be suspended than white students with disabilities.
  • Black boys are almost four times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than white boys.
  • Black girls are six times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than white girls.

The report “From School to Prison” released Thursday in St. Louis found that students subjected to school discipline are less likely to succeed and more likely to face legal trouble as they grow up.

The ACLU compiled information from studies by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, and Missouri-specific data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The report encourages schools and school districts to address the underlying issues behind behavior problems rather than simply sending children out of the classroom or home.