Race Plays Role in Student Arrests

Black, Hispanic Students More Likely to Be Arrested Than Whites, Report Says

Students who are black or Hispanic are more likely to get arrested than white students who do the same bad thing in West Hartford or East Hartford, the American Civil Liberties Union is reporting. 

The ACLU of Connecticut Monday released a 50-page study on students in the two school districts, which states that minority students were more likely to be arrested for committing the same crimes in school than their white schoolmates. 

Between 2005 and 2007, nearly 8 percent of the students arrested in East Hartford were African-American, 10 percent were Hispanic and nearly 7 percent were white. 

One East Hartford High School student said she is not surprised by the findings. She has been arrested three times for fighting in her school while white students who fight have not been taken into custody, she said.

In West Hartford, nearly 23 percent of the students arrested were African-American students, more than 13 percent were Hispanic and a little more than 11 percent were white.

Betsy Olguin, a mom from West Hartford, said the findings are surprising.  “Well, I might have thought the demographics of West Hartford would have fallen into play, however if it’s East Hartford, I think we've got a whole different set of demographics,: she said. “That really baffles me.”

The state Department of Education released a statement on the report findings:

"We are aware of the ACLU study and are tracking disciplinary data from all districts in the state,” the statement says. “We are further discussing the findings with the ACLU and will work with the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association and the Connecticut State Police to discuss how to better train school resource officers and remedy the disparity."

Police chiefs in West Hartford and East Hartford said the arrests are made solely on individual incidents.

ACLU representatives said the study was not intended to point fingers but to start discussions that could prevent problems and to show the importance of mentoring and other programs to assist students.

The two school districts did not return calls for comment on the issue.

Contact Us