Reality Check: Philly Likes to Punish Its Black Kids
Written by Charles Ellison on June 7, 2017
This week, Billy Penn reporter Cassie Owens penned an insightful piece on the all-too-familiar (and ugly) habit of Philadelphia public schools suspending students—in grades kindergarten through 5th. Courtesy of Owens, who talked about it on WURD’s Reality Check, we are sent to a stern letter from the Education Law Center (and partners) to Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite which highlights an awfully grisly trend in the city:
Despite prohibiting the suspension of Kindergarten students, the District continues to suspend students in first through fifth grades at alarming rates. According to Pennsylvania’s most recent Safe Schools Report, the District meted out 615 suspensions to Kindergarteners, 1081 to first graders, 1779 to second graders, 2192 to third graders, 2295 to fourth graders, and 2260 to fifth graders during the 2015-16 school year. As many of these suspensions are likely longer than one day, this means that elementary-aged students missed well over 10,000 days of school due to suspension.
In short: Philly doesn’t very much like its black kids. We’ve kind of known that for some time, but when you have data to back it up, the trending hostility towards the city’s black children becomes that much more vivid.