Perceptions of Misbehavior
We know that misbehavior is often treated in very different ways for white, black and non-white students. Research shows that school staff respond to student misbehavior more or less harshly based on race perceptions.
Black students are more likely to receive harsher punishment for the same type of misbehavior and are more likely to be served suspensions, expulsions or referrals to law enforcement all measures that result in children being consumed by the criminal justice system. Alarmingly, the juvenile correction facilities that these kids are sent to can be designed as for-profit systems with cash incentives for developers.
Conversely, White children are more likely to be put into special education services and receive medical or psychological treatment for their misbehaviors. In order to fund special education services, schools often have to draw from their own resources. Which explains why low income area schools don’t have the option to send students to special education if they misbehave. Because of neighborhood defined school systems and the way school funding works, schools in poorer areas receive less funding than schools in wealthier areas, perpetuating inequality. Black students from poorer districts are funneled into the criminal justice system as a result of a lack of funding for special services in disadvantaged schools, which often have more children in need of these services, and more one-size-fits-all approaches to discipline.