“We’ve often seen that students of color, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with special needs are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled,” Holder said in Atlanta, Ga.
“This is, quite simply, unacceptable. … These unnecessary and destructive policies must be changed,” Holder said at the meeting, which was hosted by 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc.
Holder attributed his claim of racial disparity in school discipline to a 2011 study that he said showed “83 percent of African American male students and 74 percent of Hispanic male students ended up in trouble and suspended for some period of time.”
However, Holder’s speech ignored the report’s conclusion that 59 percent of white males are also disciplined. He ignored other data suggesting that the different discipline rates roughly align with actual schoolyard behavior.
Holder’s speech reflects a growing demand by government-funded professionals for federal government intervention to ensure that school officials discipline students in each racial or ethnic group at roughly the same rates, without regard to classroom behavior. This campaign has generated funding for many studies, as well as a stream of supportive articles in outlets such as The Washington Post.