On August 24, 2016, the Lodi Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) entered into a resolution agreement that would end the racially discriminatory, disproportionate impact its schools’ discipline policies had on African-American students over white students.
Amongst the OCR findings were that while the discipline policy was neutral on its face, it had a disproportionate impact on African-American students, because the district allowed individual schools to develop and impose different consequences for discipline incidents. As a result, there were district-wide disparities in discipline practices for African-American students versus white students.
In schools that had a higher percentage of African-American students, there were harsher penalties for discipline incidents, and the African-American students received disproportionately higher levels of discipline than white students. Specifically, the OCR found that African-American students were disproportionately represented to a significant degree at almost every level of discipline; in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, and citation for every year that they analyzed.
The resolution agreement provides a list of items that the Lodi Unified School District must follow, including, employing a Positive School Climate Coordinator to coordinate implementation of the agreement for the duration of the agreement’s term; develop and implement an action plan approved by OCR to identify root causes for the racial disparities; revise its discipline policies and practices and training staff to ensure consistency; and ensure that the district collects and reports discipline data, reviews data regularly, and self-monitors. This list is not exhaustive—for additional information, see the resolution letter and the agreement.