More than 15 percent of black students in Seattle were suspended from school for at least one day in 2013, according to data from the non-profit group Washington Appleseed. That compares to just over 3 percent of white students. Native Americans fared nearly as badly in Seattle’s schools — just under 15 percent of Native students were suspended. While Asians were the one ethnic group suspended less often than white children.
This data comes from a broader examination of suspension and expulsion rates from nine different school districts in Washington state. In each of the districts examined by Washington Appleseed, African Americans were significantly more likely to be suspended than white students, although Seattle had far and away the worst racial disparities. In other districts examined by this study, black students were anywhere from 1.68 times to 3.31 times as likely to be suspended or expelled as white students.
The United States Department of Education is currently probing whether Seattle’s public schools discriminates against black students by disciplining them “more frequently and more harshly than similarly situated white students.” More than one-quarter of African American middle school students in Seattle received short-term suspensions each year since 1996, according to the Seattle Times.