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Suspended Again: The Racialized Consequences of a 9th Grade Suspension on Future Suspension Patterns

A Correction to this article was published on 15 June 2021

This article has been updated

Abstract

Although prior research has linked school-based punishment to a series of negative consequences, little is known about how being punished in school predicts future school-based punishment. To address this, the current study examines the extent to which being suspended in 9th grade predicts subsequent suspensions within the same school. Using stereotype congruence theory as a framework, we examine differences by race (black versus white) and household income. The data are drawn from three cohorts of four-wave annual administrative data from a large urban school district in the Midwestern USA (N = 11,006). Findings indicate that being suspended in 9th grade is associated with higher odds of subsequent suspension and a greater number of subsequent suspensions, but not a greater number of days per suspension. Black students suspended in 9th grade were particularly likely to experience more subsequent suspensions. Further, these racial differences are not driven by household income measures. These findings indicate that racially disparate school punishment practices have cascading effects for black students.

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Data Availability

The data used for this study have been provided by a school district under the agreement that they will remain confidential and not shared with anyone aside from the approved researchers.

Code Availability

Stata syntax used in this study is available upon request.

Change history

Notes

  1. But for examination of secondary sanctioning within the criminal justice system, see Liberman et al. (2014), McGlynn-Wright et al. (2020).

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Funding

This project was supported by National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice under Award No. 2016-CK-BX-0017. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

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Authors

Contributions

BWF conceived of the study, conducted the data analysis, and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. SAW assisted with data analysis and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. AMW assisted with data analysis and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Benjamin W. Fisher.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the University of Louisville IRB under application number 16.0419.

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Fisher, B.W., Wiley, S.A. & McGlynn-Wright, A. Suspended Again: The Racialized Consequences of a 9th Grade Suspension on Future Suspension Patterns. Race Soc Probl 14, 254–267 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-021-09332-5

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Keywords

  • Suspension
  • School discipline
  • Punishment
  • Discipline gap
  • Educational equity
  • Racial disparities