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Eliminate Racial Disparities in School Discipline

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") strives for equality of social and economic rights of all persons through pursuing enactment of federal, state, and local laws securing civil rights; and

WHEREAS, education should be regarded as a fundamental right of all people, giving students the ability to grow and succeed as productive members of society; and

WHEREAS, through resolutions adopted in 1997, 1998, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the NAACP has demonstrated its unwavering opposition to school policies, such as "zero tolerance," that lead to extreme racial disparities in school discipline; and

WHEREAS, the most recent data show significant racial disparities in educational outcomes and that these disparities have improved little to none over time; and

WHEREAS, school discipline policies, particularly out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, have a profoundly negative impact on a student's future, leading to the infamous "school to prison pipeline." Students who are suspended or expelled are more than twice as likely to be arrested in the following two months. Further, students incarcerated in the juvenile justice system are significantly less likely to graduate from high school; and

WHEREAS, at every step of a Black student's education, he or she is significantly more likely to be suspended or expelled than a White student. In Pre-School, Black children only make up 18% of students but make up nearly half of all students with multiple suspensions; and

WHEREAS, Black K-12 students are almost four times more likely to be suspended than White students and are almost twice as likely to be expelled as White students; and

WHEREAS, the increase in the number of armed police officers on school campuses has been linked to harsher punishments and even violence toward Black students; and

WHEREAS, social science evidence shows that racial disparities in school discipline are caused in great measure by harmful racial biases and stereotypes in the classroom; and


WHEREAS, implicit biases, and unconscious stereotyping people by race, result in many White teachers having lower expectations in academics, classroom behavior and overall success in life for Black students than White students; and

WHEREAS, racial anxiety - the fear of interacting with people of a different race - results in disciplinary scenarios which could easily be resolved instead of escalating into unnecessary conflict because of subconscious racial tensions; and

WHEREAS, stereotype threat - the tendency to categorize people based upon preconceived racial stereotypes - results in a dysfunctional relationship between students and teachers; and

WHEREAS, these unconscious racial biases in teaching can be counteracted by assessing one's biases, cultivating inclusivity, and soliciting feedback from outside observers and students.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP calls on the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, state departments of education, and local school boards to collect more data on school discipline disparities and their causes and effects; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls upon the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Education, and State Departments of Education to initiate and institute school faculty and staff training programs to expose and counteract racial biases in the classroom; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that in-school and out-of-school discipline disparities must be a part of any pending school desegregation litigation.