March 15, 2015
No one ever could have imagined that implementing policies to stop Blacks and Browns from being punished for bad behavior at school could result in increased levels of bad behavior.
It is just something that happened. Even the suggestion that someone could have seen this coming is completely racist.
Teachers and students in San Francisco schools are complaining about a new approach to student discipline that’s creating havoc in some classrooms, though others believe the problem stems from white teachers who don’t understand their minority students.
The San Francisco Unified School District last year removed “willful defiance” as grounds for suspending unruly students, following a trend in California and other areas to reduce a disproportionately high percentage of suspension among minority students.
As KQED News put it, “The theory is: Keep kids in class, and they’ll learn more and be less likely to drop out.”
Theory and reality, however, are two different things.
Because the bad actors know there are no serious consequences for their actions, “they cuss out the teachers, throw tables and chairs and stuff around the classroom,” said Alexis Gill, a seventh-grader at San Francisco’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School.
Susan Warren, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, told the news site the theory behind the policy change is good, but it’s not working out as planned.
“I agree, they’re not learning if they are outside the classroom, but for some students, no one’s learning if they’re in the classroom,” she told KQED.
Warren said the new discipline process is also time consuming. It requires teachers to give an initial warning for bad behavior, then to put them in the hall if they don’t shape up. If that doesn’t work, they’re sent to another classroom to reflect, and lastly to the office if all else fails.
“I’m happy to facilitate that process,” Warren said, “but it gets in the way of me trying to teach literacy skills and pure content.”
Warren said the students who would have been suspended for “willful defiance” in the past are also less likely to engage in their studies when they do stay in the classroom.
“And if you put something in front of them, they’re not going to do it. They going to start talking, they might get out of their seat, they might go to the garbage can six times, and then, they might hit someone on their way to the garbage can,” Warren told KQED.
Warren’s experience is certainly not unique.
According to Investor’s Business Daily, an anti-suspension policy imposed on school districts by the U.S. Department of Education is resulting in an increase in violence, disruptions and threats against teachers in several large metropolitan schools.
“In 2011, the Education Department accused the Los Angeles Unified School District of discriminating against black boys, who were suspended for bad behavior at a disproportionate rate. The agency ordered it to reduce suspensions in the hopes that unruly minority students would stay in school and graduate,” the news site reports.
The government decreed that “the district shall develop and implement a comprehensive plan to eliminate the disproportionality in the discipline imposed on African-American students,” and district officials complied by removing “willful defiance” as grounds for suspension, IBD reports.
The result was that school bullies and other thugs are now disrupting class and running amok because there are no real consequences for their actions. The LA district’s suspension rate dropped to a rock-bottom 1.5 percent, but student violence went through the roof, according to teachers who spoke with IBD.
“We now have a restorative justice counselor, but we still have the same problems. Kids aren’t even suspended for fights or drugs,” one of the teachers said.
The same federal policy was reportedly foisted upon Oakland schools and others with similar results. While it’s not immediately clear whether such an anti-suspension policy was imposed on New York City schools, the state eased up on its student disciplinary code in 2012 at the urging of City Council members and the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Huffington Post reports.
Perhaps coincidentally, the number of New York City schools labeled “persistently dangerous” by the state department of education increased from 40 in 2011 to 60 in 2012, according to the New York Post.
So maybe the program doesn’t work, but the fact remains: if Blacks can somehow get through High School, they will all end up working for Rand, MIT and NASA.