April 24 (UPI) -- Data from the Department of Education released Tuesday showed black students are disproportionately arrested and disciplined compared to white students.
Thirty-one percent of K-12 students who were arrested or referred to law enforcement were black, while black students accounted for 15 percent of the total student population across U.S. public schools and districts, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2015-16 school year.
The 16-point disparity between black student enrollment and law enforcement referrals was up from 11 percent in the 2013-14 school year.
Conversely, white students accounted for 36 percent of students who were arrested or referred to police, while representing 49 percent of all enrolled students.
Black students also were disproportionately restrained and secluded, representing 27 percent of all students who were restrained and 23 percent of those secluded.
Black males also accounted for 23 percent of expulsions, while white males accounted for 27 percent. Black and white females each accounted for 10 percent of all expulsions.
Black male students accounted for 25 percent of students who received an out-of-school suspension, while representing 8 percent of enrolled students and black female students, who also represented 8 percent of enrolled students, accounted for 14 percent of students who received an out-of-school suspension.
The data also showed that race was the second most commonly reported reason for bullying among male students at 62 percent, behind disability at 66 percent. A total of 63 percent of female students reported being bullied most often due to their gender.
Black students disproportionately reported being harassed or bullied for their race -- 35 percent reported such incidents.
In a statement released along with the data Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said "protecting all students' civil rights is at the core of the department's mission."
"I want to commend the many educators, school leaders and OCR staff who put in countless hours to produce this data and who work tirelessly to ensure all students are able to learn in a safe and nurturing environment free from discrimination," she said.