ACLU says that Hawaii Schools are Suspending too many Pupils

ACLU says that Hawaii Schools are Suspending too many Pupils

Last year's release of federal school discipline data for the 2015-16 school year showed a major racial imbalance among school suspensions in Hawaii, one that disproportionately affects the Hawaiian Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

But the number of teaching days lost in Hawaii as a result of suspension and school catches are drawing attention to national civil liberties after the federal data.

“We always see Hawaii as the oldest, as long as there is a suspense frequency, a punitive amount of suspense, but also when it comes to Pacific students and the Native Hawaiian – catch rates are much more than average The national state, ”said Amir Whitaker, a policy attorney with the ACLU Southern California chapter.

At home last week to participate in it panel organized by Hawaii ACLU, Whitaker introduced a new tool that he created to search a school in Hawaii to see how many full days lost pupils and the most affected student groups: t

The interactive tool uses data from the Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection, a biennial survey of public schools required by the Civil Rights Office.

For the 2015-16 school year, the latest school year in the survey, the federal government first included a category of school days lost due to suspension.

According to Whitaker's analysis, that number in Hawaii is better than the national average. Across the country, 23 days suspended per 100 students, but in Hawaii, were lost 41 days per 100 students.

Indigenous Hawaiian and Pacific students in Hawaii lost 75 teaching days per 100 students, according to their analysis.

In addition, it found that students in Hawaii are caught at a national average three times rate and catches for disabled students on top of the nation.

Hawaii's public school population in 2015-16 was approximately 182,000. Indigenous Hawaiian and Pacific students accounted for one-third of students, accounting for 48% of suspensions, 68% of expulsions and 48% of school-based law enforcement referrals, according to federal data. .

Unlike many other states, Hawaii does not limit the number of school days a student can suspend.

Under Chapter 19, Hawaii's school discipline code, a student may be suspended for up to 92 days for serious offenses, including possession of a dangerous weapon or possession or use of illicit drugs or intoxicating liquor while at school or DOE sponsored event.

Assistant Superintendent Heidi Armstrong, the third from left, at a public hearing last year to discuss reviews of Chapter 19, the student discipline code.

Suevon Lee / Civil Beat

“School principals allow suspension of 1 to 10 school days; The district commander approves a complex suspension of over 10 days and can appeal it, ”wrote Heidi Armstrong, assistant superintendent of the Student Support Services Office, in e-mail to Civil Beat.

She also stated that school administrators look at five factors in determining disciplinary action: the nature of the offense, the offender's intent, the impact of the offense, the age of the offender and whether the student was a repeat offender.

“While a student may lose a physical school day, alternative educational activities and other appropriate assistance, which may be outside the traditional school environment, are guaranteed at another time of the day, or at another location, t ”She said.

Armstrong sat on the ACLU Hawaii School to Prison Pipeline last week. Some viewers expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of information provided by the DOE on racial inequality in suspension.

“I hope that the DOE would take the lead in the system that says, 'We are in line with what is happening in a larger society and we need to do better than that.' We have to put funding towards addressing bias and biased effects, ”said Chris Santomauro, a former DOE special education teacher.

Armstrong said in his email that the DOE saw an “overall downward trend” in school suspension since the 2015-16 school year.

She said the DOE would reduce this data community.

The Whitaker discipline search tool continues to create two reports from the Southern California ACLU chapter and from the UCLA Civil Rights Project. The first, published in August 2018, is “11 Million Lost: Lost: Discipline, and Safety in US Public Schools.” The second of these reports was published in March and entitled “Cops”. and No Counselors: How the Lack Student Mental Health Team. ”

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