A report by the Community College Equity Assessment Lab at San Diego State University (CCEAL) and the Sacramento Native American Higher Education Collaborative revealed that Native American boys are suspended and expelled at higher rates than students from other demographics in both the Sacramento area and throughout the entire state of California.
It found that statewide, the suspension rate for Native American youth is 7.2%, much higher than the state average of 3.5%. Native American girls face suspension at a rate of 4.6%, while boys face suspension at a rate of 9.6%, which is 4.2% higher than the state average. The study used self-reported data to draw its conclusions.
Early childhood years — that is, kindergarten through third grade — see the largest disparities.
“Native American boys are 2.5 times more likely to be suspended in early childhood education than boys in the same grade-range, while the rate is 3.7 times greater for Native American girls in comparison to the average for girls,” the study says.
However, Native American male students are most frequently suspended while in middle school.
The district where Native American boys in California are most frequently suspended is Fortuna Union High in Humboldt County. It suspends more than 71% of its Native American males, according to the report.
The district where Native American girls are most frequently suspended is Loleta Union Elementary in Humboldt County. Here, the report says, 32.3% of Native American girls were suspended. Loleta Union Elementary was involved in a 2013 Office of Civil Rights investigation for its treatment of Native students.
Black students also are suspended at alarmingly high rates in California — especially in grades seven and eight — according to a study by the Civil Rights Project of UCLA.
And the inequalities compound when it comes to students with disabilities.
“Among students with disabilities, Black students lost 79 days and Native Americans lost 50 days per 100 enrolled, respectively,” the UCLA report said.
Native American adults have higher disability rates than any other racial or ethnic demographic in the U.S., and the same goes for school-aged youth with disabilities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Americans have the highest poverty rates.
Taking students — especially those from impoverished backgrounds — out of school leaves them more vulnerable to problems with the law and lower educational attainment, according to a study by Janet Rosenbaum. All of these factors add to the cycle of poverty in these communities.
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