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We’re releasing school suspension data that drew backlash from local group against Fargo newspaper for not publishing

Valley News Live obtained data for West Fargo and Fargo school districts showing the racial makup of suspensions and expulsions
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 8:11 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - People gathered outside the Forum building Thursday afternoon in downtown Fargo.

One Fargo, the group behind the effort, said it’s calling attention to the newspaper’s refusal to publish data on the racial makeup of school suspensions and expulsions.

“You have a billboard here that says...you must provide the truth in journalism and so forth. And to know that going on for two months, you all have this data and it’s out there...it should be shared with the public,” Wess Philome of One Fargo said.

Yet, the paper said it wasn’t refusing to publish anything and has been working on a related story for months.

Valley News Live obtained the data that’s in the middle of the controversy. We have numbers from the West Fargo and Fargo school districts spanning five years on suspensions and expulsions broken down by race and ethnicity.

For the 2018-2019 school year, data showed whites make up the majority of the student population at both school districts and about 50 percent of suspensions. Blacks on the other hand represent around 15 percent of the population, but nearly 30 percent of suspensions.

2018-2019 school suspensions

West Fargo Public Schools

Whites 73 % of student population; 51% of suspensions

Blacks 16% of student population; 31% of suspensions

Hispanics 4% of student population; 7% of suspensions

Native Americans 2% of student population; 4% of suspensions

Fargo Public Schools

Whites 73 % of student population; 50% of suspensions

Blacks 14% of student population; 28% of suspensions

Hispanics 4% of student population; 5% of suspensions

Native Americans 3% of student population; 6% of suspensions

For this past 2019-2020 school year, whites continue making up the majority of the population and suspensions at West Fargo and Fargo. Yet, blacks, who are 13 to 15 percent of the overall population of both districts, represent 27 to 33 percent of the suspensions.

2019-2020 school suspensions

West Fargo Public Schools

Whites 72 % of student population; 54% of suspensions

Blacks 15% of student population; 33% of suspensions

Hispanics 4% of student population; 4% of suspensions

Native Americans 2% of student population; 3% of suspensions

Fargo Public Schools

Whites 71 % of student population; 51% of suspensions

Blacks 13% of student population; 27% of suspensions

Hispanics 4% of student population; 4% of suspensions

Native Americans 2% of student population; 7% of suspensions

All the data we obtained from the West Fargo and Fargo school districts is attached below.

FPS 5-year suspension and expulsion data: https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20391495-5-year-fargo-public-school-suspension-and-expulsion-data

FPS enrollment and ethnicity data: https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20391496-enrollment-ethnicity-data-2014-2020-at-fargo-public-schools

WFPS 5-year suspension and expulsion data: https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20391497-wfps-suspensions-and-expulsions

WFPS enrollment and ethnicity data: https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20391606-wfps-enrollment-and-diversity-data

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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