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Volume 40, Issue 1 (2011)

Race Is Not Neutral: A National Investigation of African American and Latino Disproportionality in School Discipline

pp. 85—107

Abstract. Discipline practices in schools affect the social quality of each educational environment, and the ability of children to achieve the academic and social gains essential for success in a 21st century society. We review the documented patterns of office discipline referrals in 364 elementary and middle schools during the 2005–2006 academic year. Data were reported by school personnel through daily or weekly uploading of office discipline referrals using the Web-based School-wide Information System. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses indicate that students from African American families are 2.19 (elementary) to 3.78 (middle) times as likely to be referred to the office for problem behavior as their White peers. In addition, the results indicate that students from African American and Latino families are more likely than their White peers to receive expulsion or out of school suspension as consequences for the same or similar problem behavior. These results extend and are consistent with a long history of similar findings, and argue for direct efforts in policy, practice, and research to address ubiquitous racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline.

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