Expulsion and Suspension of Students of Color do not Reflect a Focus on Equity

Salem-Keizer school leaders say they’re focused on equity. Expulsion and suspension rates tell another story.

“Black Salem-Keizer students for years have had the highest expulsion rate of any racial group in the district. Black and Latino students and community leaders say they’ve long pushed to address disproportionate discipline rates and are only now being heard.
By Rachel Alexander – Salem Reporter
July 17, 2020 at 9:00am

Sandra Hernández-Lomelí, director of Latinos Unidos Siempre,  (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Black, Latino and other students of color are more likely to be suspended and expelled from local schools than their white peers – and the racial gaps in school discipline have persisted for years despite a superintendent who has made equity her guiding priority for Salem schools.

During the 2018-19 school year, Latino students in the Salem-Keizer School District were expelled 76 times and suspended from school 1,938 times. In total, Latinos accounted for 47% of district expulsions and suspensions, despite being 41% of the student body, according to a Salem Reporter analysis of district data obtained through a public records request.

White students, who make up 47% of Salem-Keizer, were expelled 54 times during the same year, one-third of all expulsions.

Cynthia Richardson, director of equity, access and advancement with Salem-Keizer School District. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

lack students are just 1% of the student body, so a handful of suspensions or expulsions can shift numbers significantly. But in the four years of data Salem Reporter reviewed, they had the highest expulsion rate of any racial or ethnic group in the district, ranging from 2.5% to almost 7% of all expulsions.”

Annalivia Palazzo-Angulo was also quoted in this article:

“We (have) so many suspensions here when teachers or principals decide that talking back is like verbal assault,” said Annalivia Palazzo-Angulo, executive director of the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, a Latino parent organization formed 20 years ago in response to concerns about how Latino students were treated in schools.

Link to Salem Reporter full article