Disproportionality in School Discipline: An Assessment in Maryland through 2018 (Study Snapshot)

Publisher: Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic
Sep 30, 2019
Authors
Johanna Lacoe and Mikia Manley

Key Findings:

  • Exclusionary discipline rates declined for all subgroups of students in Maryland over the past decade; however, Black students and students with disabilities continued to be suspended and expelled from school at more than twice the rates of other students.
  • Even when they were involved in the same types of infractions, Black students and students with disabilities were significantly more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than other subgroups.
The purpose of this report was to describe trends in disciplinary removals in Maryland from the 2009/10 to 2017/18 school years and apply the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) definition of discipline disproportionality to identify and describe disproportionate schools. The report presents an analysis of administrative data from Maryland to identify trends in school removals (out of school suspensions and expulsions) from 2009/10 to 2017/18, and determine whether schools with and without discipline disproportionalities differ in significant ways. The analysis used school discipline, school enrollment, and student demographic data provided by Maryland, as well as enrollment and demographic data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data. The study found that exclusionary discipline rates declined for all subgroups of students in Maryland over the past decade; however, Black students and students with disabilities continued to be suspended and expelled from school at more than twice the rates of other students. Even when they were involved in the same types of infractions, Black students and students with disabilities were significantly more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than other subgroups. These findings indicate a need to identify and address the root causes of these discipline disparities. Inequitable punishment for the same offenses suggests the possibility that implicit bias against Black students and students with disabilities plays a role. The following are appended: (1) background on the study; (2) a description of methods; and (3) supporting analyses.