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High suspension rate at Brooke Mattapan

BROOKE MATTAPAN, a Boston charter school, is being held up as a school where students of color earn high MCAS scores without racial integration (“Can separate be equal?; Ideas, Oct. 11). But when those students of color have disabilities, they are denied access to Brooke’s novel curriculum.

Brooke draws from a district where 19.5 percent of the students have disabilities, but only 9.6 percent of Brooke students have disabilities. Roughly half of the students with disabilities Brooke ought to have are either not enrolling or are being pushed out.

Brooke does have a low attrition rate. But that rate captures only students enrolled in the school in June and unenrolled the following September. It does not capture students who leave during the school year because, for example, they are regularly suspended. Students with disabilities accounted for 26.2 of Brooke’s suspensions in 2013-2014, more than triple the state’s average rate. I have represented Brooke students who were so regularly suspended for behavior related to their disabilities that they decided to unenroll.


Brooke presented a new opportunity for children of color. It is unfortunate that if those children of color have disabilities, they are yet again left out.