For Immediate Release:
January 19, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -


New OSSE report shows worsening racial disparity in use of suspensions

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, regarding the State of Discipline Report for the 2016-17 School Year released yesterday by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). In comparison to the 2015-16 school year, the report found that black students are even more likely to be suspended as white students and that disciplinary action for subjective reasons has increased:

“The results of OSSE’s report on discipline in school year 2016-17 are very upsetting. Perhaps what is more distressing is that they are unsurprising. Though the overall rate of students receiving at least one out-of-school suspension is slightly down, the total number is up. Most troubling of all, the disparities in their application based on race have worsened.

“The current state of affairs is reinforcing the racial inequalities and biases that plague our education system—black students are nearly eight times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than white students. It is unacceptable.

“The report also found that: students with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to receive at least one out-of-school suspension; at-risk students 1.5 times more likely. We are seeing an increase in the use of disciplinary actions for subjective reasons. I am also convinced that these discipline practices contribute to the worsening absenteeism problem in our schools.

“Suspensions and expulsions often deprive students of their right to an education. Students pushed out of school are more likely to fail academically, to drop out, and to end up involved in the criminal justice system.

“We must continue the reforms to school discipline that I started when I began my tenure as chairperson of the Committee on Education.  On January 30, 2018, I will hold a hearing on my legislation to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline in our traditional public and public charter schools, the Student Fair Access to School Act of 2017.

“This bill limits out-of-school suspension of students in kindergarten through eighth grade to the most serious of circumstances and bans its utilization in high school for minor offenses. If exclusion becomes necessary, it protects a child’s right to an education while they are off premises and requires a plan for the student to successfully return to the classroom.”