The percentage of students enrolled in a public and charter school in the City of St. Louis that received one or more out-of-school suspensions

Equity Score
Indicator scores are represented on a scale from 1 to 100.
Disparity Ratio
Disparity direction: black-white
Out-of-school suspension rate

Black students are more than three times as likely as white students to receive out-of-school suspensions.

Source: Civil Rights Data Collection

A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes between black and white populations. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.

For Suspensions, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black students and white students are equally likely to receive out-of-school suspensions. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all. 

More Information

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What does this indicator measure?

Suspensions measures the percentage of students enrolled in a public and charter school in the City of St. Louis that received one or more out-of-school suspensions. In 2015, there were 4,504 students who received one or more out-of-school suspensions, or 13% of all students. 

Suspensions analysis

Out-of-school suspension rate for students in St. Louis City.

  All Black White Disparity Ratio Equity Score
Students who received out-of-school suspensions 4,504 4,110 239 - -
Student population 34,520 26,620 5,049 - -
Suspension rate 13.0% 15.4% 4.7% 3.262 to 1 32

Data Source: Civil Rights Data Collection, U.S. Department of Education, 2015. 

What does this analysis mean?

Black students are more than three times more likely than white students to receive an out-of-school suspension. Black students are the most likely to receive suspensions (15.4%), followed by multiracial students (14.2%). Asian students are the least likely to receive out of school suspensions (1.0%), followed by white students (4.7%), and Hispanic students (5.5%). If suspension rates were equitable, 2,858 fewer black students would have been suspended.

Data Note: School districts evaluated in 2016 include City Garden Montessori, Confluence Academies, Eagle College Prep, Gateway Science Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, KIPP St. Louis Public Schools, La Salle Charter School, Lafayette Preparatory Academy, Lift for Life Academy, Missouri School for the Blind, North Side Community School, Preclarus Mastery Academy, Premier Charter School, South City Preparatory Academy, St. Louis Language Immersion School, St. Louis City, and The Biome. 

Why do Suspensions matter?

Unnecessary and excessive out-of-school suspensions remove students from the opportunity to learn. According to research cited in the Ferguson Commission report, "In addition to hurting academic performance, this disproportionate discipline of Black students lowers teacher expectations and has been shown to increase the likelihood of future incarceration."

Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?

The Ferguson Commission made the following calls to action related to suspensions:

Questions for further investigation

  • Why is there a racial disparity in Suspensions? 
  • What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Suspensions?
  • What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Suspensions?

How can I learn more about this issue?

The Keeping Kids in the Classroom initiative is led by area social justice and education-focused organizations including Metropolitan Congregations United and Ready by 21 with support from Forward Through Ferguson. In 2015, the initiative shared school district level data on racial disparities in suspension rates in the St. Louis region. That same year, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA published a national study on discipline rates that found schools in Missouri, particularly those in the St. Louis region, have some of the highest suspension rates in the country. In 2017, the ACLU published a report on Missouri’s School to Prison Pipeline. The ACLU found that black students in Missouri were more than four times as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension as white students. Yet, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education found little evidence of statewide racial disparities in discipline rates in their June 2018 Educator Equity Plan.

Regional Health Commission’s (RHC) Alive and Well STL is a community-wide effort focused on reducing the impact of stress and trauma on our health and well-being, including the impact of suspensions. 

St. Louis University’s Shut it Down initiative provides racial equity and implicit bias education for teachers, so that they have a better understanding of their students’ lives, including trauma and community stressors like suspensions that they experience, in order to improve their educational performance. 

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