Friday - October 24, 2014
Fed. Government Investigates Durham Suspension Rates
Written by Stephanie Hawco   
Friday, 21 June 2013 05:13

DURHAM - The federal government is investigating alleged civil rights violations in the Durham Public Schools. The school system is accused of suspending black and disabled students at a disproportionate rate. The complaint was filed by Advocates for Children's Services on behalf of two disabled black students who missed hundreds of days of school due to suspensions.

Spokeswoman Peggy Nicholson says students who are suspended often fall behind in school. “Suspension has been linked to academic failure, to dropping out of school, to referrals to the juvenile and adult criminal systems and so it’s a very harmful measure and should only be used as a last resort.”

The complaint claims that Durham suspends black students at more than four times the rate of white students. Nicholson said the investigation was opened after they filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. “They will be contacting Durham Public Schools, to request records, to get new data, to talk with the school folks to talk about their discipline practices, especially when it comes to these particular groups.”

The complaint also says suspension rates at DPS have increased by one-third over the last two years.

Nicholson says “There aren’t a lot of alternatives to out-of-school suspension in Durham and so this harmful practice, which is already being used excessively in Durham, is disproportionately harming these groups which are protected under civil rights laws.”

Last Updated on Friday, 21 June 2013 05:15
 
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