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Public School Discipline &
Obama's Egalitarian Society

Lee Culpepper
January 24, 2014
Claiming to protect the civil rights of minority students by condemning good black kids from inner-city schools to classrooms with dysfunctional and violent juvenile delinquents seems like a plan orchestrated by the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. However, this is the brainchild of the Obama administration to remedy its alleged racial discrimination in school discipline policies that do-gooding liberals imposed in the first place.

Just last Wednesday, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education sent a co-authored letter to K-12 public schools across the country. Unbelievably, the letter advises educators to alter disciplinary practices involving disruptive black students in order to ensure that all racial groups are now punished in equal percentages.

In fact, if the proportions in discipline by racial groups do not balance out, the letter threatens that schools could face federal lawsuits.

Currently, government data reveals that black students are suspended three and a half times more often than white students are. On the other hand, Asian students are suspended far less frequently than are whites -- more than two times less often, according to the government's study.

Of course, the DoJ's letter simply ignores the latter fact; maybe because whites students are not minorities -- well, not at most schools anyway.

On the surface, however, someone looking at these statistical facts alone might be persuaded to believe that a gang of conservative-Asian bigots was running the public school system. I mean, the DoJ and DoE's letter flat out states, "In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem" -- except in terms of suspending Asian students.

I have taught English and coached wrestling in a few different public high schools across the country, including two predominantly black schools most recently. The latter two schools are located in a city ranked by Forbes.com as one of the top 10 most impoverished cities in America. It also consistently ranks among the top 50 most dangerous cities in the country.

I can assure you that conservative-Asian bigots do not control the public school system there -- or anywhere else. But you do not have to rely on my personal experience as proof.

At the 2011 National Education Association's convention, 72 percent of delegates voted to endorse President Obama for re-election. It is painfully clear that if there are any racist bigots imposing racially discriminatory discipline on students, those racists would most certainly be multicultural liberals.

Nevertheless, the attorney general is blaming "zero-tolerance" policies, not the liberals who imposed them, for the problem. (Of course, it seems kind of ironic that Holder has zero tolerance for the idea of blind justice, but I digress.) The DoJ claims that while zero-tolerance policies are well intentioned, they disproportionately affect minority students.

Here is how the DoJ explains the high number of suspensions regarding disruptive black students: "Schools ... violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race."

In other words, "Some black students have more of a propensity to violate school rules so we are directing you to start ignoring them, and if you don't, we will prosecute you for violating their civil rights."

The DoJ even makes an effort to drag the well-behaved and scholarly Asian students in to its discipline discrimination charges. According to the letter, Asian students are being disproportionately disciplined for being late to school because they tend to live farther away from the schools than other students.

But why do Asian students not attend schools closer to where they live? Are liberal administrators assigning school zones in an effort to increase test scores at schools where the general population might not naturally have any Asians at all? It is not like busing for that very purpose is some radically new liberal concept.

Then again, busing Asian students to schools far away from their own neighborhoods is more likely explained by liberals as part of the multiculturalism experience. Of course, encouraging students to emulate the respect for teachers, self discipline, hard work, respect for others, and responsibility that Asian students typically exhibit is something that violates the foundation of multiculturalism. Assimilation is bad. To liberals, Asian students are just fun to watch and really do a good job improving a school's test scores.

Nevertheless, regarding zero-tolerance policies in general, Attorney General Holder insists the policies too often escalate school matters to the level of criminal behavior. The DoJ's letter cites examples like chewing gum, being late to class, and cell phone violations. However, at many inner-city schools, each one of those seemingly minor infractions can quickly escalate to a student causing a verbal commotion or even physically threatening the teacher attempting to correct the infraction.

Furthermore, gang members routinely use their cell phones to organize drug deals, fights, and more in bathrooms and stairwells during requests to go to the restroom. Simply maintaining some semblance of order at inner-city schools is a full-time job.

Meanwhile, good black students routinely sit frustrated or become disengaged as their teachers are preoccupied with resolving conflicts or filling out the required documentation of an incident report or referral to classrooms called "Chill Out" or "ICE" (a.k.a. in school suspension). Thorough documentation is necessary to justify a principal's decision to suspend an unruly student who takes up 20 minutes of class time by refusing to comply with a teacher's simple instructions to be quiet or to leave the room -- you know, 20-minute minor infractions like that.

Granted, principals should have discretion in making disciplinary decisions for individual students. Decisions made by individuals closest to the problems are generally better than those made by disengaged bureaucrats in Washington DC. Central planning generally comes up with stupid ideas like replacing personal discretion with racial quotas.

The truth is that any racial discrimination in school discipline would be the exception, not the norm. In terms of many classrooms in inner-city schools, they are nothing more than security-guard jobs. As long as the hoodlums from the neighborhoods are not out committing crimes in the city for a good part of the day, politicians and Attorney General Eric Holder will happily sacrifice the education of the good black kids who are mired in those chaotic classrooms.

On the other hand, what is so different about students of Asian descent? Why do they face far less discipline at school than other students? The answer is quite obvious. More of their parents have zero tolerance for disrespect and delinquency at home.

Instead of celebrating counterproductive "stereotypes" associated with any racial group under the banner of multiculturalism, perhaps students should be expected to assimilate and pursue qualities that produce personal success, not government dependency.

Demanding higher standards of conduct from all school children seems like a far better plan than having the federal government force schools not to suspend black juvenile delinquents who are robbing their black classmates of an education at school and committing other crimes when they are not confined to a classroom.

Liberals certainly benefit when everyone just ignores the violence and crime taking place in communities like the one where my former students live. Though most Americans might think of inner-city schools in places like Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, or Washington, DC, smaller cities have the same if not worse problems.

If this situation were not so serious regarding the education of the black children who strive hard to avoid the snares of trouble in their cities, it would almost be hilarious that the DoJ's letter exposes the fact that liberal fantasies (like Holder's naughty dream of racial punishment) are the obvious causes of their own complaints of racial discrimination.

Maybe this whole situation is bigger than civil rights though. It may very well be an effort by the Obama administration to also substantiate multiculturalism. Clearly, Asian students tend to be more respectful toward teachers and just more serious students than other kids. Just look back at the suspension data and check out their test scores.

But if all races are going to be punished in equal percentages, there really are no superior values in any one culture. More good people are simply going to become the victims of bad people who will face no consequences for the offenses.

Finally, liberals might have found a way to achieve their egalitarian society after all. And it looks like everyone is going to be miserable.

Lee Culpepper is a recovering high school English teacher and former Marine. He currently teaches firearm courses and has resumed his passion for writing. This article was originally published at Townhall.com








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