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Nashville tried to close the racial gap in suspensions. It only got worse

Posted on 14 November 2019 by admin (0)
A pencil. The seventh grade teacher sent the 12-year-old boy to the principal’s office for taking a pencil from her desk.
It could have gone a different way — a discussion, a warning, a referral to a school counselor — but the boy’s mother said the principal at Haynes Middle School told her the pencil was the last straw. He’d already been written up for walking out of class, leaving his desk without permission and other misconduct.
The boy was suspended for a day.
African American youth like this student were three times more likely to be suspended than white students last year in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Haynes Middle, where enrollment is 96% black, had the highest suspension rate last year of all traditional public schools in Nashville: 1 out of every 3 students was sent home at least once for discipline.
District officials have spent five years trying to close the racial gap through an initiative called Passage, which launched teacher training on alternative forms of discipline and helped tighten guidelines on when administrators could suspend a child.
But after more than $2 million invested over the five years — through Passage and other reform efforts — the disparity increased, a Tennessean analysis of suspension data found.
By Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

By Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

A pencil. The seventh grade teacher sent the 12-year-old boy to the principal’s office for taking a pencil from her desk.

It could have gone a different way — a discussion, a warning, a referral to a school counselor — but the boy’s mother said the principal at Haynes Middle School told her the pencil was the last straw. He’d already been written up for walking out of class, leaving his desk without permission and other misconduct.

The boy was suspended for a day.

African American youth like this student were three times more likely to be suspended than white students last year in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Haynes Middle, where enrollment is 96% black, had the highest suspension rate last year of all traditional public schools in Nashville: 1 out of every 3 students was sent home at least once for discipline.

District officials have spent five years trying to close the racial gap through an initiative called Passage, which launched teacher training on alternative forms of discipline and helped tighten guidelines on when administrators could suspend a child.

But after more than $2 million invested over the five years — through Passage and other reform efforts — the disparity increased, a Tennessean analysis of suspension data found.

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