African-American students at one of the region’s most prestigious schools were disproportionately slapped with suspensions for disciplinary incidents, according to a report published today by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the 2011-2012 school year, African-American students comprised just 5 percent of enrollment at Maggie L. Walker Regional Governor’s School, but received 25 percent of the school’s suspensions, according to the report. The rate at which black students were punished with suspensions at Maggie Walker was among the worst in the state, according to the analysis.
The report provides an analysis of school discipline in 13 Southern states, derived from self-reported data to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. In Virginia, black students accounted for a quarter of statewide enrollment, but received half of the suspensions handed down by school divisions.
Maggie Walker was not the only local school mentioned in the report.
In Chesterfield County, black students comprised 27 percent of total enrollment, but accounted for 52 percent of out-of-school suspensions. In Henrico County, black students comprised 37 percent of total enrollment, but accounted for about 70 percent of suspensions. In Hanover County, black students accounted for just under 10 percent of enrollment, but received 24 percent of total suspensions.
A Thursday press conference is scheduled at the state NAACP headquarters in Richmond to address the disparities.
(This story will be updated)