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Associated Press, Published April 14 2013

Minneapolis schools talk student suspension disparities

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson says she doesn't know why black students are being suspended at a much higher rate than their white peers, but she says it is a disturbing problem that must be addressed.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports that black students in Minneapolis are nearly seven times as likely as white students to be suspended. Nearly 14 percent of African American students were suspended last year, compared with just 2 percent of white students.

Johnson says suspensions are worth examining as the district tries to close the racial academic achievement gap. She says if students aren't in class, they aren't learning.

School district data shows that in the past several years, the main reason for dismissal from school has been disruptive or disorderly behavior.