“Data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights reinforces what we have known for decades – students of color continue to attend under-resourced schools where they bear the brunt of overly harsh school discipline practices,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). “It is our hope that state and local educational agencies will use these data to change their policies and practices so that every student receives a quality education regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin or gender. Our collective resolve should be to eliminate the disparities revealed in the OCR report and to take a hard look at the type of interventions that are necessary to do so.”
The Education Department collected and analyzed, for the first time, data on the number of sworn law enforcement officers in schools. It found that most high schools (51%) with high Black and Latino student enrollment have school police officers.
“It is not surprising that police presence in schools with predominantly Black and Latino students has led to a disproportionate number of arrests of students of color compared to white students,” said Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy and Senior Counsel at LDF. “As states and local educational agencies develop plans to carry out the Every Student Succeeds Act, they would be well advised to select school climate as an indicator of school success and adopt discipline policies and practices that will keep all students safe, in school, and learning.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.