South Bend school district has been cited by the state of Indiana for putting a disproportionate number of black students into special education classes. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, black students in the school district are more likely to be diagnosed with cognitive and emotional disabilities that take them out of mainstream classrooms.

The state’s top special education official said a recent review also found the district didn’t follow legally required procedures between 2010 and 2012.

“That, to me, is the biggest distinction,” said Nicole Norvell, director of special education with the Indiana Department of Education.

She said not only were South Bend schools sending more black kids into special education, they weren’t documenting what led to the decision, including students’ current performance levels.

Donna Krol, the district’s special education director, said the citation doesn’t mean the district broke the law, but it has a problem that needs to be fixed.

The sanction means the district could lose $90,000 of its $6.1 million federal special education grant, shifting the funds into intervention programs to help struggling students stay out of special ed. Teachers also have been assigned to work with mainstream students who have behavioral issues to help them remain in general education. Source