Fewer expulsions but huge racial disparities in Denver’s discipline numbers

Denver Public School’s disciplinary actions overwhelming target students of color, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report was produced by Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, a local advocacy organization focused on school reform and eliminating racial inequities in education. The group examined the district’s rates of expulsion, suspension and law enforcement referral, with an eye on strategies to end the school-to-jail pipeline.

The report gives DPS an overall grade of C for its disciplinary practices and a D- for the huge differences between the disciplinary actions taken against students of color as compared with their white peers.

Denver ranks last among the state’s 20 largest districts for racial disparities in disciplinary actions, the group reported. The report notes that that disparities stand even when disability and family income are accounted for.

The district fared better on other measures, including rates of expulsion. Still, black students were over seven times more likely to be expelled than their white peers and Latino students were almost twice as likely.

The district’s lowest grade on the report was an F for how well parents and students know their rights. Padres found that few parents were aware their students could receive school work during suspensions, or even that students and parents could appeal suspensions.

To see the full report in English, see here. The report is available in Spanish here.