The Obama administration’s solution to racial disparities in school suspensions was to make schools stop suspending students. Here’s a better idea.
School Discipline Is Not Racist
By Robert L. Woodson
September 20, 2017
A middle-school teacher in suburban Virginia confided in a friend about a troubling incident that was causing her nightmares: When she touched a student’s sleeve while telling him to quiet down, he swore at her and threatened her with physical violence. She said she wouldn’t bring the incident to the principal’s attention because he was under pressure to reduce suspensions in the school. (The teacher’s story was relayed to me in confidence, so I have avoided naming its source.)
In 2014, school districts throughout the nation received a mandate from President Obama’s Department of Education to reduce the racial disparity in suspension rates, which were three times higher for black students than for whites. In response, rather than addressing and changing the violent and antisocial behavior of students, schools throughout the country have targeted the presumed bigotry and discrimination of teachers. This methodology is in sync with the dominant — and misguided — narrative that any racial disparity in schools is evidence of racism.
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