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School board president calls racial disparities in student suspensions disturbing

New Haven

The president of the New Haven Board of Education is calling newly-released disparities in suspensions data disturbing.

Darnell Goldson made the assessment Thursday after the information was presented at this week’s Board of Education meeting.  

The report shows wide racial gaps in what students receive out of school suspension. For example, black male students were suspended at a rate of more than 40 percent. Latino males were suspended more than 20 percent of the time.

The numbers in the previous categories are followed closely by black females and Latino females who were suspended at nearly 19 percent and more than 10 percent, respectively.

The numbers for minority students stand in stark contrast to suspension rates of 3 percent for white males and 1.9 percent for white females. Superintendent Carol Birks says she is looking to learn from schools getting it right so the number of suspensions can be reduced.

Yet, Goldson is going a step further by issuing this statement: “It was sobering. It was devastating. It shows that we have a lot of work ahead of us. We want the administration to better define what’s driving those numbers. The fact is, these kids weren’t born bad and they weren’t born to be suspended.”

Goldson also says he will push to include implicit bias training for teachers and principals in all schools.

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