WSD report shows Indigenous students over-represented in suspensions

December 15, 2021
A report from the Winnipeg School Division shows that students who self-identify as Indigenous have received at least 55% of all suspensions since the 2016/2017 school year, despite making up only 27% of learners. The report indicated that young men were suspended most often, and that those who had repeatedly been suspended were more likely to have lower pass rates than their peers. Michael Henderson, an Ojibwe former student who had been suspended five times in high school, said that he “just didn’t feel wanted there” because of the suspensions, which additionally made it “kind of hard to catch up on my work.” Dr Janine Newton Montgomery, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba, said that suspensions should be used sparingly and alongside other supports for the student. “Sometimes the reason that they’re engaging in a behaviour is [not having a basic need met],” said Newton Montgomery. “And then to punish them for the fact that they haven’t had breakfast, they don’t have safety at home or something like that, it just makes the problem worse and then in terms of the outcomes, makes that kid feel worse about themselves.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)