Saturday, March 24, 2018

This Would Be A Good Start

Are our criminal laws biased against men, because the vast majority of people behind bars in this country are men?  A rational person would say no.  Then why are school suspensions racist, just because minority students are suspended more than white students?

You don't get angels by turning a blind eye to misconduct.  The old policy hasn't done anything good, and President Trump is considering sending it to the trash heap where it belongs:
The Trump administration plans this summer to scrap a controversial Obama-era discipline rule forced on schools to close racial gaps in suspensions and arrests but that critics say pressures educators to turn a blind eye to escalating bad behavior.

The federal directive, issued jointly in 2014 by the US departments of Education and Justice, warned public school districts receiving federal funding — including New York City — that they could face investigation and funding cuts if they fail to reduce statistical “disparities” in discipline by race. On average, the administration noted, black students are suspended at three times the rate of their white peers.

The directive also discourages student arrests and holds districts liable for the actions of “school resource officers … or other law enforcement personnel"...

“The scope of it is breathtaking,” said Max Eden, an education policy expert and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

He says surveys show schools serving predominantly minority students have been hit hardest by the resulting breakdown in discipline, with violence and chaos mushrooming out of control in urban districts.

After Mayor de Blasio adopted the more lenient school-discipline standards in early 2015, including the recommended “restorative justice” counseling, “more schools saw fighting, disrespect, drugs, gang activity,” Eden said...

While NYC school suspensions are down, crime has spiked in the city’s public schools, including major crimes such as robbery and arson, new NYPD data show. The current academic year has seen the first school murder in more than 20 years — a stabbing at a Bronx high school — and the first time a gun was fired inside a school in more than 15 years.

The linked article discusses schools in New York City, Baltimore, Syracuse, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.  Minnesota is another sad example.

Are minorities suspended at higher rates than whites because of racism?  Do minorities commit proportionally more offenses?  I don't know.  But what I do know is that failing to punish offenders doesn't do anyone any favors.  It certainly doesn't promote an environment conducive to good education.


lgm said...

My district has no authority to punish. Like all schools in NY, it has to have a Discipline Plan that applies without regard to race, religion, gender, etc. Per plan, nonspecial needs disruptors are ejected, to one of the many APs, who calls the parents/guardians and arranges the meeting to decide how Disruptor is going to proceed with his ed and in what setting, as well as get the medical help he may need (Mental Health Care clinic on campus, as well as Psych, Social Worker, Nurse). Attorney costs spike if the Plan is not followed or a classmate is injured. A family court judge is involved if there is a lawsuit or potential for one.

Lots of complaints about cost of excess APs in schools. Cost isn't going away until drugs and violence go away.

Auntie Ann said...

It is always so frustrating to see great concern focused on minority perpetrators, and not on their victims, who are overwhelmingly of the same race and socio-economic sphere as themselves. Criminals overwhelmingly prey on their own communities: whites prey on whites, Asians on Asians, and blacks on blacks. Few criminals bother to drive across town to victimize a different community, when they have their own handily nearby.

When activists decry tough law enforcement and endlessly promote light punishments, the people who are harmed probably look just like the criminals the activists are mistakenly trying to protect. The families who can't afford, or are too scared of the unknown, to move to a safer part of town pay the price for leniency aimed at the destructive elements of their communities. Graffiti, car break ins, thefts from stores (which often cause them to close), dangerous streets, availability of drugs and the addiction and prostitution that go along with them, drive away jobs and make life miserable for the average person just trying to get by and make a life for their families.

It was the voices of those average people who called for tough enforcement against crack cocaine pushers in the '80's. Today, those same tough measures are being decried as racist. People have forgotten that the communities destroyed by crack were largely black communities. We have forgotten that parents were putting their kids to bed in bath tubs to protect them from stray bullets fired by gangsters enforcing their turf. Those families needed those laws to just be able to live their lives.

Those laws might have been among the last to actually care more about the victims of crime than the criminals.

Violence and disruption in schools isn't on the same level as the crack epidemic and the violence of the '80's, but the underlying truth is the same: coddling and looking the other way as a some students disrupt schools and classrooms leads inevitably to poorer educational outcomes for all the other students in the school--students who are highly likely to be the same race and class as those causing the disruptions. It seems so hopeless. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be a teacher or educator and be forced to allow your school to devolve into chaos; to see the chance at learning diminished by such stupid policies; to be an educator who cares more about the students who are there to learn than those who aren't.