Academic Publications

Separate and Still Unequal: An Analysis of School Discipline

Melissa F. Kwende, Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, Howard Henderson, Julian Scott


The chapter examines racial disparities in school suspensions, finding that Black students are suspended at higher rates than White or Hispanic students despite making up only 20% of the student population.

Key Takeaways

  • Black students had much higher suspension rates compared to White and Hispanic students.
  • Male students and economically disadvantaged students also had higher suspension rates.  
  • Most suspensions occurred in grades 9-12.
  • Black students received harsher discipline like out-of-school suspension and disciplinary alternative education.
  • The authors recommend reducing discretionary suspensions, using restorative practices, requiring cultural competency training, and improving data collection on discipline.