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Report: Students of Color and Students with Disabilities Twice as Likely to Face Suspension

Flickr/Irish Typepad


Areportfrom the Juvenile Reform Project, a coalition of New Hampshire advocacy organizations, says that school discipline in New Hampshire is disproportionately harsh on students of color and students with disabilities.


The report draws on data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. (Scroll down to the end of this post to read the report in full.)

It shows that students of color and students with disabilities in New Hampshire are twice as likely to get suspended as their white, non-disabled peers, a disparity that follows national trends.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, around 5 percent of New Hampshire students received out-of-school suspensions.

Students of color, who make up abour 14 percent of the general student population, comprised about 23 percent of student suspensions.

Students with disabilities, who make up about 20 percent of the population,comprised around 40 percent of students suspensions.

"What's even more concerning is that students of color who also have a disability are 5.5 times as likely as their white non-disabled peers to be suspended out of school," says Michelle Wangerin, a member of the Juvenile Justice Reform Group.

Wangerin represents students facing suspension and explusion as the Youth Law Project Director at New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

"We've had several students who have been suspended upwards of 30, 40, 50 days in a single school year, despite the fact that they have an identified disability," she says.

The report recommends that the state introduce a "multi-tired system of supports" for students with behavioral issues and that the state revamp its guidelines for suspension.


Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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