Schools Seek Remedies to Racial Suspension Gap

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 Black students nationwide are suspended at least twice more frequently than any other student group and up to three times more often in many Twin Cities metro area urban and suburban school districts. However, school officials say that they are working on reducing Black suspension rates using a variety of strategies.

“I cannot speak for all districts, but I can tell you that we have worked extremely hard in Anoka-Hennepin to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students of color,” stated Anoka-Hennepin spokesperson Mary Olson. The district had a nearly 33 percent Black suspension rate in 2011-12 while only 10 percent of its overall student population is Black.

Anoka-Hennepin has been using cultural competency and culturally responsive teaching strategies by the Seattle-based Gary Howard Equity Institute for nearly four years, added Olson. In an email response, Gary Howard last week told the MSR, “There has been a sustained effort to reduce the number and rate of Black students’ discipline suspensions… My work has been just one part of their district-wide effort in this area. This effort is still very much a work in progress.” Read more here.