Focus Policy Blog

School Suspensions

California Reduces Number of Out of School Suspensions for All Students

A new study by the UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies finds that between 2011 and 2013, the number of out of school suspensions (OSS) has gone down for all students in California. The rate of reduction in these suspensions was nearly 3 in 100 fewer suspensions over the two-year period, with Black students having the greatest reduction (between 11 and nearly 22 in 100 fewer suspensions).  Latinos had between 5 and 12 in 100 fewer suspensions.  The data collected for this study seems to indicate that California school districts have made progress in relying less on out-of-school suspensions as a disciplinary tool. The data also shows that disparities in racial disciplinary exclusion are narrowing because minority student groups are seeing the highest reduction rates in OSS.  If these trends continue, more students will have access to education without the interference of behavior management issues.

Although it may be too soon to tell what the long-term trend in reduction of out of school suspensions will be, the following California districts made the greatest reduction in OSS over the two year study period:

  • Greenfield Union had just over 15 in 100 fewer suspensions
  • Rialto Unified had just over 11 in 100 fewer suspensions
  • Central Unified had just over 9 in 10 fewer suspensions

To contrast, the following districts had the lowest reduction in OSS:

  • Los Angeles Unified had 1.66 in 100 fewer suspensions
  • Long Beach Unified had 1.66 in 100 fewer suspensions
  • Fontana Unified had 2.75 in 100 fewer suspensions

The report suggests that school districts with the least gains should learn from districts with the greatest gains to determine ways to reduce their OSS even further.

Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School