ACLU questions West Florida High disciplinary recommendations

The ACLU has asked the Escambia County School Board to not approve Superintendent Malcolm Thomas’ recommendation for disciplinary reassignment for the West Florida High students involved in “panting” incident in early October. Its attorney wants the board to direct the Superintendent to permit the students to return to West Florida High School or another traditional high school in the district, and correct the Students’ academic and disciplinary records according.

Supporting its argument for the students, the ACLU points out how the Superintendent has allegedly manipulated his disciplinary actions to make it appear the district is less discriminatory.

From the ACLU motion:

“Escambia has switched its removals from expulsions to disciplinary reassignments. In the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years, it expelled significantly more students than it disciplinarily reassigned. However, by the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, Escambia disciplinarily reassigned significantly more students than it expelled.

Although it used to expel in excess of one hundred students per year, it now expels around a dozen. The number of overall removals has remained well over one hundred—Escambia now just calls most of them “disciplinary reassignment.”

School Year Expelled Reassigned Total
48 157
2008-2009 118 50 168
2013-2014 10 161 171
2014-2015 13 121 134

The ACLU also shows how minority students make up an unusually high percentage on the reassignments:

2013-2014 Escambia Florida
per 10K Per 10K
Expelled 4.1 3.9
Reassigned 39.8 26.5
Total 45 30
2013-2014 Escambia   Florida
White Non-White White Non-White
Expelled 2.5 7.4 2.8 3.3
Reassigned 20.8 58.7 21.6 29.8
Total 23.3 66.1 24.4 33.1

Read 151116 Students’ Opposition to Disc. Reassignment (Redacted)