GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Two years ago, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice's Youth Justice Project team decided to analyze how students are disciplined in North Carolina schools. They found some large disparities.

What You Need To Know

  • They found black students are more than four times more likely to receive short-term suspension as a punishment.

  • Students suspended in early grades are ten times more likely to drop out of high school than those who aren't.

  • The researchers hope school systems use the data to change protocols and standards.

“Even though there has been a lot of changes in North Carolina’s discipline laws and policies, the thing we’ve seen consistently is that Black students are suspended and disciplined more frequently and more harshly than White students in North Carolina schools," former director Peggy Nicholson says.

Black students only make up around 25 percent of student populations, but make up more than 50 percent of total suspensions.

Nicholson says these suspensions can have major impacts on a student's futures.

“Students who are suspended are more likely to fall behind academically. They’re more likely to end up in court. They’re more likely to drop out of school and not graduate. So there are a lot of harms that come with even just one out of school suspension,” she says.

Some students are suspended in early school years, kindergarten through fifth grade.

The study found early school suspension students are actually 10 times more likely to drop out of high school.

Nicholson says more investigation needs to be done on how resource officers impact the learning and discipline environment.

She says they hope school districts look at the numbers, and create accountability and standard programs to help change the data in the future.

The study also found that Black students are 4.3 times more likely to receive short-term suspensions than White students.

You can find more information about the study here.