JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At a meeting Monday night the Jacksonville NAACP called on the Duval County School District to county school district to make a bigger effort in decreasing the racial disparity in school discipline by expanding their cultural training to all educators.
Data from the district shows that African American students are suspended more than white students.
The NAACP believes teachers should be required to take cultural sensitive training, not just the deans and principals as it currently stands.
DCPS school board member Scott Shine says this problem isn’t anything new, but he hopes the way they tackle it can be. He’s working to see if the disparity correlates to any other factors in a student’s life. He's requested more data from the district.
"You know racism is not something I personally would tolerate in the district today, it’s not something that anyone in our community would expect out of our school district," Shine said. "My concern with the findings is that we really don’t know what the underlying causes are."
In a detailed six-page report from DCPS, their findings show that out of more than 15,000 students suspended, more than 10,000 were African American, while about 2,800 were white students. African-American students also showed higher numbers of multiple suspensions as well as total suspension events for the school year.
DCPS says the disparity is a national and historic trend and they welcome the NAACP’s suggestions.
Shine says he will be looking to see how outside factors impact a student's behavior.
"I asked the administration to give data showing the relationship between economics and racial disparity," Shine said. "We need more people to step up so anyone who comes to us and wants to be involved that’s a positive thing."
DCPS sent First Coast News the following statement:
"As a district, we fully understand cultural bias – which has been historically reflected in school districts nationwide – and have worked closely with our student culture and climate teams to proactively assist schools in discussing cultural competency, equity, and implicit bias, and strategies to reduce the role of implicit bias in our schools and classrooms. Additionally, we are also working with the chief of schools to provide principals with Professional Development around cultural competency, equity and implicit bias."
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