August 8, 2012
Report Highlights Disturbing Data on Out-of-School Suspensions
in Our Schools
"We cannot simply give up on millions of children," says AFT President Weingarten
Washington—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles report "Opportunities Suspended: the Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School."
"The data are both compelling and disturbing. Our failure to address this problem will continue to deny millions of children the high-quality education they need and deserve. That is neither morally acceptable nor economically feasible.
"Children can't learn if they're not in the classroom. But we also must ensure that parents, teachers and all students are guaranteed safe, nurturing classrooms and schools.
"The facts are chilling—17 percent of African-American students and 13 percent of all students with disabilities have been suspended. We cannot simply give up on millions of children.
"We must also recognize that harmful budget cuts continue to force school districts to eliminate school counselors, mentors and other services that are critical to helping students succeed and become productive members of the school community.
"Creating safe schools and guaranteeing all children a fair shot at life is our collective responsibility as teachers, parents, administrators, elected officials and community leaders. This is a community issue, and it will take all of us working together to address this problem in a serious, thoughtful and comprehensive way."
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.