A new study has found that Black students in Southern states get suspended and expelled at exponentially higher rates than White ones, an imbalance that experts have warned against for years. The “Disproportionate Impact of K–12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in Southern States” report, released Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, found that 55 percent of the 1.2 million Black students who are suspended nationwide every year (and 50 percent of them who are expelled) are concentrated in just 13 Southern states. As if the statistic weren’t lopsided enough, Black students constituted just over 20 percent of the total student population in these states.
The report studied every school district—rural, suburban, and urban—in the 13 states, from Texas up to West Virginia, and repeatedly found the same imbalance: In South Carolina, where 36 percent of the students are Black, Black students constituted 60 percent of suspensions and 62 percent of expulsions; in Virginia, where 24 percent of the students are Black, Black students made up 51 percent of suspensions and 41 percent of expulsions. Louisiana and Mississippi expelled the highest proportion of Black students.