A new national report is shedding light on the high suspension rates among students of color and special-needs children in Minnesota's largest school district.
About 9 percent of St. Paul Public Schools students were suspended in the 2009-2010 school year. But mirroring a national trend, the suspension rate was significantly higher for students with disabilities and African Americans, especially those in later grades.
Report author Daniel Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California-Los Angeles, said one of the most startling findings pertained to black boys with disabilities. He says two-thirds of them enrolled in St. Paul middle or high schools were suspended at least once.
"Nationally their rate is 36 percent, which is horrific. So to be almost double the national average is certainly way out there," Losen said.
St. Paul district officials note that the data are about three years old, and say they have since vastly reduced suspension rates for African-Americans and kids in special ed.