(WASHINGTON) -- Black students face a greater chance of being disciplined than their peers in public schools, new data from the Department of Education suggests.
A survey of 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the U.S. found that black school children accounted for 35 percent of those who had been suspended once, even though they made up only 18 percent of the students sampled. The percentage jumped to 46 among those who had been suspended more than once and to 39 among those who had been expelled.
Compared to their white classmates, black students were found to be three-and-a-half times more likely to be suspended or expelled.
American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative counsel Deborah Vagins, who pushed for the data's release, said, "There's several concerns that are happening in our nation's schools, not just school discipline, but obviously also the re-segregation of schools. Our schools are becoming more and more racially isolated."
And, as she explained, this can be detrimental to a student's performance.
"Data shows that the more racially isolated students are, the worse it is for their academic achievement," Vagins said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio