Target: Gina M. Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island
Goal: End disparities in school punishments between white students and black students.
Black elementary school students in Rhode Island are suspended much more frequently than their white peers, according to a recent study of the state’s school-to-prison pipeline. This is an example of what racism can look like in America today and cannot be tolerated. Demand that the governor of Rhode Island launch efforts to end these racial disparities in school punishments.
According to an American Civil Liberties Union report, black students in Rhode Island’s elementary schools receive 28 percent of all the suspensions issued in that school bracket, but only make up 9 percent of the total number of elementary students. This results in black students being suspended at a rate six times higher than their white peers. Additionally, as students grow older, that disparity does not disappear. Black high schoolers still get suspended at twice the rate of their white peers. These discrepancies lead, in turn, to black Americans being incarcerated at higher rates than white Americans.
Whether this disparity is the result of explicit or implicit racism on the part of school administrators, it demands a response. Sign the petition below to demand that Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo launch a plan to address and alleviate these discriminatory rates of school discipline.
Dear Governor Raimondo,
I am writing you today regarding findings recently published by the ACLU that pertain to your state’s education system. The report revealed that black students in your state are subjected to much higher rates of suspension than their white peers. This is a problem of school administration that needs to be addressed.
Such extreme disparities in punishment along racial lines can only be the result of racism on the part of school administrators. Whether that racism is conscious or unconscious, such numbers cannot stand. They result in black Rhode Islanders getting unequal chances compared to white Rhode Islanders, which can impact their whole life trajectory. For instance, as I’m sure you are aware, black men in your state are over nine times more likely to be sent to juvenile detention than their white counterparts, and make up 30 percent of your state’s prison population while only making up 6 percent of its general population.
I am sure that, unfortunately, these problems are not unique to Rhode Island. This report has given you the chance to take action, however. I urge you to launch efforts to address and alleviate these racial discrepancies in your schools’ punishments.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mysid via Wikimedia Commons