There was at least 57,000 incidents of educators beating Black children in the United States in a single year, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute, highlighting that “Black children are twice as likely as White children to be subject to corporal punishment” at school.
The disproportionality in corporal punishment in the U.S. is “partly because Black kids are disproportionately likely to live in states where such punishments are allowed, and also because Black students are more likely to be singled out for corporal punishment by educators,” Dick Startz, an economics professor at U.C. Santa Barbara, said in the detailed report released in Jan. 14.
The research by Startz used data from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division to determine the breakdown. All data is for the 2011-2012 school year, the latest year available. Corporal punishment at school is illegal in 31 states.
While the report exposes one of the fundamental problems in the U.S. and a historic problem that has persisted over the decades, a Google search shows that few U.S. news outlets had covered it after almost two weeks of being published.
In that year, there was 42,000 reported incidents of Black boys being beaten and 15,000 incidents for Black girls, according to the report. The beatings against all school kids is happening across the country but seven states account for 90 percent of corporal punishment. The states are Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee and Louisiana.
The report says “sadly (and) unsurprisingly” the racial aspect of the punishment takes place in southern states or U.S.’s Deep South, which are known for their notorious historical racist past.
“Black students are twice as likely to be struck as White students in North Carolina and Georgia, 70 percent more likely in Mississippi, 40 percent more likely in Louisiana, and 40 percent more likely in Arkansas,” the report warned.
Meanwhile, in northern states of Pennsylvania and Michigan, where they have low overall rates of corporal punishment, schools are nearly twice as likely to beat Black children as White. “The continuing disproportionate corporal punishment of black children is a reminder that some aspects of the “bad old days” are not fully behind us,” the author stressed.
Also, “most surprisingly”, in northern Maine state Black children are eight times as likely to be hurt by teachers and educators as White children, the report said, while in Colorado, Ohio, and California corporal punishment for black children are 70 percent or more higher than for white children.
While the physical beatings are highly concerning, schools were deploying yet another racially disproportional punishment: suspension from school.
The report said “an astounding 15 percent of black students receive an out-of-school suspension in a given year, a rate nearly 4 times that of White students; in-school suspensions are more than twice as likely among Black students.”
The author further stressed that out-of-school suspensions “are applied disproportionately in every state.”
“So long as these failures fall disproportionately on Black children, we are not yet living up to the dream that children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” the author concluded.
This content was originally published by teleSUR