This week for our series The Difference, we’re taking a look at school discipline, and how it affects students of color.
So far we’ve learned how a series of small punishments can have big effects on students’ lives through the school to prison pipeline. We’ve also heard about alternative discipline plans that work to prevent that snowballing effect, and keep kids in the classroom.
Fort Wayne Community Schools is among the districts that have implemented a new plan, and they say slowly but surely, it’s helping close their discipline gap.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced Wednesday that the City will make more of an effort to help young men of color.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, or MBK. It challenges cities across the country to implement plans that help young people of color reach their full potential.
In Fort Wayne, MBK will focus specifically on education, employment, health, and youth.
Stephanie Crandall with the mayor’s office says MBK will require making a lot of partnerships between local organizations.
Being disciplined in schools can have major long term ramifications for boys of color.
Every kid first learns how to behave – at home. Sometimes with formal rules, sometimes by just observing others. But different styles and standards are brought together when all those kids enter the same classroom. Combine that with cultural diversity, and classroom management becomes a big challenge.
From education to income, there’s a significant gap between black men and their peers in Fort Wayne- last year, the City was awarded a technical grant from the National League of Cities to address the disparity.
As a part of the initiative, the NLC held a conference in Oakland last month for the participating cities to learn about strategies for improving black male achievement.
Many black men throughout Indiana going to get a haircut this weekend were also able to receive a free health screening. The 4th annual Indiana Black Barbershop Health Initiative was held Saturday across the state.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, black men have the highest mortality rate of any racial group.And many don't go to the doctor.
Researchers have known for years that black male students are disciplined in schools more frequently than their white peers.
New research from Indiana University confirms that gap exists nationwide, but it goes a step further – black girls, Latinos, and gay students are also at risk of being over-referred and suspended from school.
The new studies find suspensions are often given for relatively small offenses, things like loitering and dress code violations.
A series of research papers examining the disparities in school disciplinary practices released earlier this month show students of color are suspended at much higher rates. The findings were released by the Equity Project at Indiana University.
The new series of briefing papers reinforces what has been acknowledged by researchers for years – that young men of color are being over-referred and receive higher rates of out of school suspension. In Indiana, black male students are two to three-and-a-half times more likely to be suspended.