Seattle schools chief vows to work to fix disproportionate discipline

SEATTLE -- Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda on Thursday night reacted for the first time to allegations that minority students are disciplined more harshly and frequently than white students.

The accusation sparked a federal investigation.

Banda basically acknowledged that there is a problem and has been a problem for a while now in what he calls “disproportionality.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education said it was investigating allegations that minority students in Seattle Public Schools are disciplined at a disproportionate rate compared to their white counterparts and that discipline is harsher.

No one is sure why or how widespread the problem and while the DOE looks into the problem, Banda acknowledged the district must do better.

"We’ve acknowledged, even before the federal government or the Department of Education came into investigate, that we have disproportionality, and that’s something that’s been a concern to the district for a while and something we’ve been working on,” Banda told Q13 FOX News Thursday night.

He added that the district will work collaboratively with the Department of Education on a plan to address the problem.

"We have been. We’ve been very open and transparent with them, providing whatever data they’ve requested, so not so much maybe a plan that they put together, but maybe a plan that we put together, that has action steps on how we can address this issue in a systemic way,” Banda said.

Banda added that any plan to solve the problem would have to be a far-reaching system-wide plan.

There's no word on when the Department of Education investigation will be complete.