Dr. Janet Rosenbaum, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health, studied school suspension using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health. She found that a first school suspension predicts greater risk of arrest, conviction, probation, and lower educational attainment, as long as 12 years after a first suspension, compared with similar students who were never suspended. This research also suggests that suspension is used in a racially discriminatory way: being tall in height is a risk factor for suspension for black males, but not black females or non-black students.
This research has implications for federal zero tolerance policies from the mid-1990s that mandate 1 year suspension when a student has any weapon for any reason, even a knife from a camping trip or to cut a birthday cake. State and local policies mandate suspension in many subjective cases, such as insubordination that invites racial discrimination. The research also has implications for the shortage of black male doctors, which a recent National Academy of Science panel linked to out-of-school suspension.
Full article in the SAGE Journal of Youth & Society.Tags: Friday Letter Submission