Brooklyn Law Review


Structural racism is deeply rooted in our nation's history and often manifests as discrimination and inequality in critical facets of life in the United States, including education. This Article explores the impact of structural racism and bias on discipline in the K-12 public school setting. Discriminatory bias-based decision-making and school discipline policies have led to the disproportionate punishment of Black children, causing them to be excluded from classroom learning and creating a separate and unequal education structure. US Department of Education data shows that Black K-12 students are 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students in the same grade. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court held that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. When Black students are disciplined more harshly than their white counterparts, this too is inherently unequal and violates the constitutional right to an equal education.