CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The suspension numbers so far this school year for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) District have been revealed.
CMS School Board has been working on ways to keep students in school as much as possible. The suspension numbers show a decrease in numbers but still a disparity between white and black students who get suspended.
CMS classes started in August. Since the first day of school 2,310 students have received out-of-school suspensions compared to this time last year of 2,627 students were suspended.
When you break down the suspensions by race, there were 209 white students suspended compared to 1,710 Black students suspended.
"For you to show me that trend is continuing is disheartening," book author Osceola Thomas said. "But I think it's a matter of implicit bias. I think the philosophy is black boys are bad, so they are deserving of punitive placements, out-of-school suspensions, expulsion, incarceration. White boys are mad so they need guidance counselors, therapy counselors or empathy."
Thomas wrote a book titled "These Streets Can't Have My Son." It deals with the pressure of raising a black boy. His book addresses how sometimes black males are treated different and given a stereotype. He says sometimes that label starts in schools. The suspension numbers show 163 White male students in CMS were suspended compared to 1,189 African American males during the same time frame.
"We are going to have to stop stigmatizing black boys and dehumanizing boys," he said. "Because now we're making black boys out to be the poster child for being unintelligent and a threat to the community safety."
School board member Thelma Byers Bailey saw the suspension numbers.
"I am disappointed, distressed and upset," she said.
She is relieved the suspensions are down, but still concerned about the disproportionate number of suspensions between black and white students.
"We are not providing the support they need. If we were providing that support they wouldn't have time to get into trouble," Byers-Bailey said.
Some in the community are concerned some students are getting off easy just because of the color of their skin and where they go to school.
"Until we address that implicit bias that dictates how practitioners deal with our students, I don't think we are ever going to solve the issue," Thomas said.
CMS also released how many suspensions there have been for students in grades Pre-K-2 so far this school year.
Last year this time there were 139 suspensions for the little students. So far this year, 29 suspensions.
"While there is a significant decrease in suspensions, the work to be done to ensure that all students have access to a safe school environment and appropriate emotional, mental and social supports for academic success remains a top priority," CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said.
The CMS school board will be checking on suspension rates quarterly this school year. They want to see a change. People in the community say it's not fair blacks only represent about 40% of the student population but 75% of the population of students who are suspended.
Members of the Education Committee of the Black Political Caucus say they will use these suspension numbers to educate parents on their rights when it comes to kicking students out of school.
"Advocating for parents who don't have a voice," Black Political Caucus Education Committee Chairman Dee Rankin said.
CMS superintendent will hold a press conference concerning the suspension numbers in the very near future.