By Sally Holland, CNN
(CNN) - African-American boys and girls have higher suspension rates than their white or Hispanic peers, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights on Tuesday. The report looks at race, educational equity and opportunities of U.S.students.
"Perhaps the most alarming findings involve the topic of discipline," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "The sad fact is that minority students across America face much harsher discipline than nonminorities, even within the same school. Some examples – African American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers."
"We cannot suspend, expel and arrest our way out of our nation's education problems," said John Payton of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in response to the report.
"In fact, relying upon exclusionary discipline policies actually fuels academic failure and drives achievement gaps," he added.
According to the report, African American students are more than three and a half times likely to be suspended or expelled than their white counterparts.