School suspensions higher for blacks

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Black males in Baltimore County middle and high schools were suspended at twice the rate of white males last school year, according to statistics presented to the county school board last night.

During the 1993-1994 school year, nearly one-third of the black males in the county's secondary schools were suspended for a variety of offenses compared with only 15 percent of white males, said Jessie Douglas, the school system's ombudsman who presented the report.

Black students make up about 25 percent of county enrollment.

Overall, suspensions were up last year, 1 percent in middle schools and 2 percent in high schools. Elementary school suspensions declined by two-tenths of a percent.

In all, 6,117 students were suspended last year, primarily for fighting, chronic disruption of class, insubordination and disruptive behavior.

Last night's report sparked a heated reaction from Dunbar Brooks, one of the board's two black members. "There's something wrong. There is an attitude problem. There is a prejudice," he said.

The board's other black member, Robert F. Dashiell, asked for a school-by-school breakdown of suspensions and who imposed them.

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