Arizona: More disabled students being punished

Aug 9, 2017, Report: Phoenix-area schools punish minority, disabled children at higher rates A new report from the ACLU of Arizona confirms what some Phoenix-area parents have suspected for years: Certain schools punish minority students and students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates. … In district schools, K-12 students with disabilities are twice as likely to be suspended than their peers without disabilities, the report says. … "It doesn’t matter the age. There are kids who are as young as 8 years old that are getting suspended and expelled," said Luis Ávila, director of the ACLU's Demand 2 Learn campaign for fair disciplinary practices. ... Students with disabilities had disproportionately high out-of-school suspension rates at several elementary schools. One East Valley district school had an overall out-of-school suspension rate of 9 percent but a rate of 40 percent for students with disabilities. A group of 26 students with disabilities at a south Phoenix charter school received 14 of the out-of-school suspensions for that school year. … In Arizona, schools most commonly cite "defiance" or "failure to comply with an administrator" when giving students in-school or out-of-school suspensions — extremely broad categories that can include leaving a uniform shirt untucked or talking back. Many of those suspensions "address behaviors that could be handled more effectively another way," Losen said, particularly in cases involving students with disabilities who cannot appropriately control their behavior.