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Black Students ‘Not Surprised’ By Discipline Disparity At San Diego Unified

SDSU Education Professor Luke Wood addresses students, parents and educators ...

Photo by Joe Hong

Above: SDSU Education Professor Luke Wood addresses students, parents and educators at Morse High School about disparities in school discipline and test scores for San Diego Unified's African American students.

Hundreds of students, parents and educators filled a high school auditorium Monday to discuss a recent report on the excessive discipline of black students.

Two weeks after the report found that African American students in San Diego Unified schools are half as likely to meet academic standards and more than twice as likely to be suspended than white students, the district hosted a public meeting at Morse High School where San Diego State researchers shared their findings with the community.

Following the presentation, student leaders had a chance to respond.

“Honestly, I wasn’t super surprised by the report, but it is devastating,” said Endiya Griffin, a senior at San Diego Metropolitan and Technical High School and co-founder of the district’s Black Student Union Coalition.

The report, titled “When They Teach Us: The Education of Black Children in San Diego,” was published in early November and found that black students are disproportionately suspended, especially during the years between kindergarten and third grade.

RELATED: Young Black Students Suspended At Higher Rate In San Diego Unified

Reported by Joe Hong , Video by Amal Younis

Griffin, who spoke at Monday’s forum, said empowering student organizations is part of the solution.

“As we engage in culturally responsive curriculum, attend black events and work on service projects, we hope to uplift San Diego’s black community and create lasting effects for generations to come,” she said.

Griffin was joined by three other student leaders from across the district.

Tatiana Howell, Madison High School’s representative for the Black Student Union Coalition, said student organizations can be a bridge between students and school administrators.

Noemi Villegas, an instructional support officer for SDUSD, said the district will work to make sure its educators are culturally responsive to the needs of black students.

“We want to have conversations about what we can do to engage our black students,” Villegas said. “We want all of our parents to know that their students belong here.”

J. Luke Wood, an education professor at SDSU and lead author of the report, said the next step is to continue conversations with the school district to eliminate the disparities.

“We try to work with the schools in the districts, and that’s always the first strategy,” Wood said. “There are good people on the other side.”

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

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