Across all grade levels, Black students represent about 16 percent of the overall student population, but are 32-42 percent of students who face out-of-school suspension, 27 percent of students referred to law enforcement and 31 percent of students who experience a school-related arrest. Black students are suspended or expelled at a rate three times higher than white students. 20 percent of black boys and 12 percent of black girls face out-of-school suspensions. This is where the school-to-prison pipeline starts.
The Phantom Gangbanger
Dontadrian Bruce, a student at Olive Branch High School in Mississippi’s DeSoto County, was suspended for five months, most of the school year, after being accused of being a gangbanger by school administrators. The school’s proof? He flashed “gang signs” in a picture with classmates. The only problem was, his supposed gang signs was him putting up his number on the school’s football team—holding up his thumb, forefinger and middle finger.