McKnight Statement on Watchdog Report of Racial Disparities in School Disciplinary Action

(JERSEY CITY) – Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) offered the following statement regarding the recent report exposing racial disparities in school disciplinary action:

“It both saddens and angers me that in the year 2018, fifty years after the assassination of one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the history of this great nation in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and nearly 65 years following the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, we are still fighting for black and brown boys and girls to be treated as equals.

“Despite comprising just 15.5 percent of all public school students, black students represent approximately 39 percent of students suspended from school. This is absolutely unacceptable.

“Black and brown boys and girls do not inherently require more discipline than their white classmates; they are not inherently more violent; they are not inherently more dangerous.
“And while we should be fighting to work to create a more equitable situation for all students in our schools, the Department of Education is considering moving backwards by rolling back key Obama-era issuances meant to bridge this gap.

“We need to fundamentally change how our schools are currently administering disciplinary action in order to give our minority students the justice they deserve.

“Our children are shaped in our schools, and we must guide them towards the path of success, rather than dubbing them as ‘bad kids’ from the start.

“These children embody the future prosperity of America, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the school-to-prison pipeline is broken and never reassembled.”