Morning Report: Black Students Far More Likely to Be Suspended - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Black Students Far More Likely to Be Suspended

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A new Voice of San Diego analysis shows that Black students are far more likely to be suspended than any other racial group in San Diego County. 

Black students’ share of total suspensions is nearly three times greater than their share of the total student body, VOSD’s Will Huntsberry found. The only other racial group with such disproportionate numbers is Native Americans, whose share of total suspensions is almost twice as high as their share of the population. 

White students’ share of suspensions, on the other hand, is about a third less than their share of the total student population. 

We created a suspension index number that shows how disproportionately Black students are suspended in each of the county’s 42 school districts. A “1” means students’ share of total suspensions is the same as their share of the population. A “2” would mean Black students’ share of suspensions is twice as high as their share of the student body, and so on. 

Black Student Suspensions in San Diego County

“The high rates of suspension are a function of children and students being over-criminalized and undervalued,” said one researcher. Educators “assume that [Black students] will be troublemakers. They hyper-surveil them. They single them out even when other children are doing the same thing.” 

Huntsberry spoke to several Black parents and educators around the county who shared stories about how their children were tagged as having behavioral problems from an early age and how discrimination followed them throughout their school careers. 

Zombie Convention Center Tax Hike Initiative Alive, Again

You may remember back in the olden days of early March when we had a vote about Measure C, the plan to raise the hotel room tax to fund an expansion of the Convention Center, homeless services and road repair. 

It did not reach a two-thirds threshold of voter approval. But it came very close. 

It was put up as a ballot measure, though, because of a legal theory that, as a citizens’ initiative, as opposed to a measure placed on the ballot by City Hall, it could be considered law if it just got a simple majority. 

We’ve reported about this a lot, including right after the vote when supporters said they’d just have to wait a bit (and an attorney pointed out there may be other fatal legal flaws with it). Well, part of what they were waiting for just happened: The state Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that a San Francisco initiative that similarly came up short of full two-thirds vote actually passed. 

The case will likely go to the California Supreme Court. But it was the Supreme Court that opened this door in the first place when it ruled that the state Constitution section that includes a requirement of a two-thirds threshold for tax increase does not apply to citizens’ initiatives.

Community Outbreaks, Hospitalizations Continue to Increase

Community outbreaks – one of the county’s major triggers to indicate the renewed spread of COVID-19 – are continuing to increase across San Diego County. 

Four new outbreaks were confirmed on Monday, which means the county has experienced ten over the last seven days. Half of the outbreaks came from bars, restaurants and parties at private residences, county officials said. 

Public health officials also announced that all restaurants and bars will have to close by 10 p.m. every night starting Wednesday, the Union-Tribune reported.

The number of hospitalizations, as well as the percent of positive cases also increased. Those numbers have not yet increased enough for the county triggers to be officially activated, but they have been steadily going up. 

We previously explained the county’s 13 triggers and how they are supposed to guide whether or not public health officials renew the region’s lockdown. 

Police Reformers Set Sights on CalGang

Inewsource crunched data from public gang records and found evidence to back what critics of the state’s notorious and error-ridden database have long claimed: that many people are included on the list simply because they spend time in a certain neighborhood and socialize with people in that neighborhood.

“The analysis of about 350 cases shows four out of every five people in San Diego County who were added to the database since 2017 were told one reason was affiliating with someone who is a documented gang member. In more than half the cases analyzed, people were told a reason was being in an area known for gang activity,” inewsource reports.

Critics of law enforcement’s reliance on the database are finding a new audience for their concerns amid swirling interest in policing reforms. 

The Los Angeles Police Department announced earlier this month that it will no longer use the database after it was revealed that some of its officers falsified records and included innocent people into the system. Activists told inewsource they believe the entire database should be abolished.

Late last year, VOSD contributor Kelly Davis found that despite a new state law that allows people to challenge their inclusion in the database, few people have actually been removed from it.

In Other News

  • Scott Lewis will interview Cory Briggs today at 1:30 p.m. on our livestream series Voice of San Diego at Home about his run for city attorney, criminal justice reform and why he jumped into politics. You can find it on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and on our website here.
  • Data from the last two months shows a massive spike in the number of young people getting COVID-19. Before May, people aged 20-39 made up just 5 percent of San Diego County cases. Now, they make up 22 percent. (NBC 7)
  • Leonardo Huerta Ibarra, who was shot by police over the weekend, died Monday night. Video of the shooting showed Ibarra pulling something from his waistband. Police have said it was a gun. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, and edited by Sara Libby.

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