Blacks Contribute Disproportionately As Rates of Suspensions Rise, District Examining Discipline

The rate of suspensions is on the rise within the Oklahoma City Public School District, and that has caused the district to reexamine student discipline, as well as staff training practices.

Last week, officials presented data on student discipline to the school board.

The data revealed that about 2,700 students accounted for the 4,048 suspensions during the first semester this academic year.

That is a 33 percent increase in suspensions above first semester levels of the previous year, according to the data.

According to Chuck Tompkins, director of student discipline for the district, Black students account disproportionately for discipline problems.

Black students have spent the most time away from class on suspension this year, he said, noting that they comprise just 20.5 percent of the district’s student population.

Black students spent 6,764 days out of school over the first half of the year, the data revealed.

Contrastingly, Hispanic students, who comprise nearly 60 percent of the district’s study body, were on suspension 4,691 days during the first semester.  

White students, the district’s third-largest demographic, were suspended for 1,150 days.

As a consequence, administrators required all district staff-members take a 55-minute online course on implicit bias.  

Also, district officials are studying how to add more mandatory cultural sensitivity training on equity and relationship building, it has been learned.

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