Black kids face four times more punishment than white peers in Huntsville City Schools

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Black students are four times more likely to face severe disciplinary consequences than their white counterparts, according to a court document filed by Huntsville City Schools outlining discipline for the 2015-2016 school year.

This comes after a government expert told a federal court in 2015 that older data showed black students were punished twice as harshly for the same offenses.

The new report is filed in the same court case, a decades old desegregation suit that has not been resolved. The school system is working to get out from under a federal desegregation order. One charge they were given was to make their discipline less discriminatory.

The document says there are only ten more white students than black students across the entire district, with 9,566 white students compared to 9,556 black students.

But from there, the numbers diverge in a big way.

The report includes, referrals, in-school suspension, out of school suspension, expulsion, students sent to alternative school, and students referred to law enforcement.

District-Wide Discipline - Rates for black students vs white counterparts 

  • Referrals: ~3.5x higher
  • In-School Suspension: ~3x higher
  • Out-of-School Suspension: ~6.5x higher
  • Expulsion: ~4.5x higher
  • Sent to Alternative School: ~6x
  • Turned over to Law Enforcement ~4.5x

Despite the district having more white students than black students, more black students faced each and every punishment recorded.

In the court filing, the school district refers to the numbers as an aberration, citing an incomplete code of conduct.

Despite filing the report in open court, it does not appear the district notified school board members about what it showed.

The Huntsville City School Board meets Thursday night, and two different school board members have told WHNT News 19 they intend to discuss the report's findings.

WHNT News 19 will continue to aggressively pursue this story.


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