Black Children Count for One-Fifth of MCPS Enrollment, One-Half of School Arrests

Excerpts below from the Bethesda Magazine article ‘Black children make up one-fifth of MCPS enrollment, half of arrests‘ (June 24, 2020).

As Montgomery County debates whether to keep police officers based in its schools, new data show that Black children make up one-fifth of MCPS’ student population, but account for nearly half of student arrests over the past three years.

This month, amid a national racial justice push, the school board directed MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith to compile data for the past three school years about the number of students — by school and demographic — arrested on school property or as a result of incidents on school property.

The data are intended to frame its discussion about whether MCPS — the state’s largest school district, with more than 166,000 students — should continue employing school resource officers.

Much of the data requested is released annually by the state Board of Education.

It shows obvious disparities in the arrests of white students and their minority peers, particularly Black and Hispanic students.

Between the start of the 2016-17 school year and the end of the 2018-19 school year, 738 MCPS students were arrested on school property or because of incidents on school property.

About 48% (354) of the arrests were of Black children, according to state data.

In MCPS, about 21% of students identify as Black.

“That data shows what we’ve known all along, and it’s that Black and brown kids are disciplined more than their non-colored peers,” student school board member Nate Tinbite said. He said that, in response, MCPS needs to end or “seriously modify” its resource officer program, increase restorative justice practices, review its student code of conduct and increase staff cultural proficiency training.