In California, students with unstable home environments most likely to be sent home from school, new study shows

Across California, foster youth and those experiencing homelessness — are most likely to be sent home through punitive, out-of-school suspensions, new research shows.

Backpacks are placed outside a classroom at Louise Van Meter Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Los Gatos, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)Across California, the two groups of children living in more tenuous home environments — foster youth and those experiencing homelessness — are also the most likely to be sent home through punitive, out-of-school suspensions, new research shows.

Homeless students were the second most likely to be suspended, with 26 days lost per 100 students. And despite the high figures, those numbers actually represent a slight drop from before the pandemic. In 2018-19, the year before COVID-19 drove students from the classroom, homeless students lost 28.5 days of school due to suspensions while foster students lost 83.

Lost instruction time soared higher when race was thrown into the mix. Across every demographic, the study found that Black students were suspended at disproportionate rates — Black foster youth, for example, lost 121 days of instruction per every 100 students enrolled in 2021-22, compared to 77 days lost for the average foster child.

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