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San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has the highest total suspensions of Black males in the county. The district suspended 653 Black males in 2016-2017. However, these total suspensions are due to higher enrollments of Black males than any other district in the county.

Outside Looking In: Suspension as a form of exclusion in San Diego County

by J. Luke Wood, Frank Harris III, Tyrone C. Howard, & Mohamed Qas

This report is a joint publication of the Black Minds Project (an initiative of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Black Male Institute at the University of California, Los-Angeles (UCLA).


In this report, we present analyses of publicly available statewide data on the suspension of Black males in San Diego schools.

  • Black Males are Most Likely to be Suspended in San Diego County. In San Diego County, the student population most likely to be suspended is Black males. In fact, in 2016-2017, 9.4% of Black males attending public school in county districts were suspended (see Table 1). This rate is 3.4 times higher than the countywide suspension average.
  • Early Childhood and Middle School are the “Eye of the Storm.” While the overall suspension rate for Black males in the county is 9.4%, this rate varies across grade levels. In early childhood education (kindergarten through third grade), Black males are 4.7 times more likely to be suspended than their peers based on the countywide average.
  • Black Male Foster Youth are Most Likely to Be Suspended.  The Black male sub-group in San Diego County most likely to be suspended are those who are foster youth and are in middle school (7th and 8th grade). Shockingly, the suspension rates for Black males in this designation is 53.3%.
  • Lower Suspension but Greater Disparities in Charter Schools. Fewer Black males attend charter schools than non-charter schools. In fact, only 21% of Black males attend charter schools in San Diego county. However, data demonstrate that Black male students enrolled in Charter schools have much lower suspensions than those who are not enrolled in Charter schools.