Schools give unequal discipline based on race, gender? Senate wants to know

By Guy Page

A bill under review by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday seeks more data on whether Vermont schools unfairly discipline racial minorities. Sponsors want this information to “understand what strategies are effective and to encourage the adoption of these strategies at the local level.”

state of Vermont

Sen. Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden

S.16, sponsored by Sens. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, and Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden, would create the School Discipline Advisory Council “to collect and analyze data regarding school discipline in Vermont public and approved independent schools.” It notes that nationally “Black students (representing approximately 15 percent of the U.S. student population) are suspended and expelled at a rate two times greater than white students (representing approximately 50 percent of the U.S. student population).”

According to, national gender and racial differences on school discipline are striking. Boys are almost five times more likely to be suspended or expelled. Black children account for 50% of preschool suspensions, but just 15% of the Pre-K student population. Educators list these alternatives to expulsion and suspension:

Problem solving/contracting
Mini-courses or skill modules
Parent involvement/supervision
Community service
Behavior monitoring
Coordinated behavior plans
Alternative programming
In-school suspension
Senate Education also will receive an update

Senate Education also will receive an update on Act 1 of 2019, “ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools.” Witnesses will include Amanda Garces, Director of Policy, Education and Outreach, Vermont Human Rights Commission, and Mark Hage, Vice Chair, Ethnic Studies and Social Equity Working Group.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Löwenstein Center and state of Vermont

5 thoughts on “Schools give unequal discipline based on race, gender? Senate wants to know

  1. First of all, there is no discipline in schools. Unless of course, some kid holds their fingers like a gun, and they send in a swat team to pepper spray and slam the 5 year old kid into the ground. They wind up sending the kid home for a time, so they can play video games and annoy their parents, or better yet keep them out of work. The information they will collect is all based on the reports written by people at the school, in other words B.S. supplied by those in charge. Everyone wants to cover their butts. This whole thing is a waste of time and money.

    • If a BIPOC is disciplined for an actual offense, then a person without color must also be punished – regardless of the lack of offense.
      Gotta make it even!!!

      How about equal? Those, white or black, who offend get corrected. Those who do not offend, white or black, are respected and rewarded

      • Frequent use of pejorative “colored” is insulting as it and “negro” are considered demeaning and disparaging. Tho personally not a fan of POC or even African American – unfortunately the accepted terms as is “black”…coloreds and negroes was ended in the ’50s by polite society no matter how flawed.

  2. I hope whatever study Vermont undertakes that it includes a separate accounting of disciplinary data for students tuitioned to the schools of their choice, and for those who are assigned to their district’s public schools.

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