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  • Writer's pictureAnn Wrixon

Foster Youth Suspended at Five Times the Rate of Other Students

Ann Wrixon article on Foster Youth suspension rates

According to a report released Last week schools suspend foster youth five times more frequently than the average, and black male foster youth have the highest suspension rates in the state. The overall suspension rate in California is 3.6%. Overall, schools suspend foster youth at the rate of 15.1%, and they suspend black male foster youth at the rate of 27.4%. 41% of seventh and eighth are black foster children.

The Community College Equity Assessment Lab and UCLA Black Male Institute published the report titled “Get Out! Black Male Suspensions in California Public Schools.” Three professors, Wood, J. L., Harris III, F., & Howard, T. C., authored the report.

The report recommends that foster youth have advocates present before the school suspends them: “As demonstrated in this report, Black boys and young men who are foster youth are suspended at much higher rates than the statewide average. Specifically, Black male students who were foster youth were suspended at 27.4%. These students are less likely to have non-school representatives who can support them and advocate for them with the school administration. Therefore, it is recommended that schools adopt a practice that requires that foster youth not be suspended unless an advocate is present. This advocate should be the student’s social worker or another independent representative of the students choosing. This practice is necessary for reducing the overexposure of Black male foster youth to exclusionary discipline and, subsequently, their tracking into the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Foster youth need advocates, and CASA volunteers should be able to serve as advocates in this situation if the foster youth has a CASA volunteer and requests they be present in this situation.

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