Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has scheduled testimony Wednesday on a bill seeking to reduce the use of “out of school” suspensions in public schools.

The bill would also require education officials to collect and analyze discipline data to determine how policies are affecting minority students.

A study of student suspensions in Rhode Island public schools in the last academic year finds large racial disparities.

According to the report by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, schools suspended many more black and Hispanic students than they suspended white students for what appears to be mostly minor discipline violations.

The ACLU reports black students were suspended at the highest rate in nine years, while white students were suspended at record low rates.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

One day after releasing a report showing that African Americans in the state are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is out with a report showing a racial disparity in school suspensions. 

The civil rights group stopped short of calling it racial profiling, but says the issue is something education leaders need to study and correct.