"The research suggests suspension is counterproductive, it does not remedy negative student behaviors and may in fact further them," said Matt Cregor, an attorney with the Boston-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.
is one of the authors of a November report that found black and Hispanic students, on average, are suspended at higher rates than their white counterparts in Massachusetts schools.
Black students, for example, accounted for 43 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 39 percent of expulsions in Massachusetts, while making up just 8.7 percent of students in the state, according to the report.
Black students throughout Massachusetts, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
and Economic Justice report states, are nearly four times more likely than whites to be suspended, while Hispanics are about three times more likely to be suspended than their white peers.
The issue, Cregor
said, is a national problem.
"What worries us here is we're using a powerful tool, out-of-school suspension, on minor misbehavior and we're doing it disproportionately to our most vulnerable youth," Cregor