According to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education, black preschoolers are more likely to be suspended from public schools than white kids.
While black kids make up 18 percent of children in preschools, about 50 percent of them are suspended more than once, reports the Associated Press.
Black kids are three times more likely to be suspended and expelled than white children. This disparity applies to both boys and girls.
Several education advocates told the Associated Press that "zero tolerance" policies adopted by schools are ushering black children out of schools and into prisons.
According to The New York Times, zero tolerance policies began over drugs and then dramatically escalated after the 1999 Columbine school massacre, which cost student lives and triggered numerous lawsuits against the school.
“A knee-jerk reaction for minor offenses, suspending and expelling students, this is not the business we should be in,” Robert Runcie, the Broward County Schools superintendent in Florida, told The New York Times.
“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in January.
Sources: The New York Times, Associated Press, Justice.gov