Delaware schools must now provide more transparency about their use of discipline. Gov. John Carney recently signed legislation that aims to reduce out-of-school suspensions.
Schools now have to report their use of out-of-school suspensions for the past three years and develop corrective action plans if they have excessive rates of discipline or high rates for certain groups of students.
Shannon Griffin with the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware said their findings show bias against students of color and disabled students. She said black students are suspended 3-to-4 times more than their white peers and disabled students are suspended twice as much.
“The cultural disconnect between teachers and the students also plays a role," she said. "And with regard to again students with disabilities, we believe that there’s bias that’s kind of baked into our belief on what we believe students with disabilities can and can’t do.”
Delaware Department of Education data reveals many students get out of school suspensions for minor infractions like being late to school or dress code violations.
Griffin said suspending students doesn't address the root causes of bad behavior.
“We should not be kicking kids out of school two, three, four days for that, right," she said. "There’s other ways that we can hold our students accountable for their actions without excluding them from getting an education.”
Griffin said she believes about 89 schools would currently need to develop corrective plans.