If black students are disciplined more harshly than white students in a school district, the gap in academic achievement between black and white students is also wider, according to a new study. The researchers also found that the reverse is true: the larger the achievement gap, the more disproportionate the discipline. The study also confirmed results of previous research, that black and Latino students are more likely to face suspension or expulsion for discipline infractions than their white peers.

“If your district is suspending students of color at higher rates compared to white students, then your district likely is also failing to meet the academic needs of students of color,” author Francis Pearman said in a press release.

The authors call for districts to continue to implement changes in discipline policies and improve their teaching for black and Latino students.