President Donald Trump’s administration officially got rid of the disastrous ‘discussion not discipline’ mandate for minority students in schools, as ordered by the Obama Administration, which determined that it could ease racial disparities (with whites) by discouraging teachers from disciplining or punishing disorderly, disruptive and/or even violent minority students.
The Associated Press reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker of the Education and Justice Departments formally revoked the Obama-era policy that aimed to address racial disparities in student punishment where “black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students.
The policy wanted school officials to take “restorative” measures that did not take kids out of class and reporting to police should be the final resort. (Unlike what happened when a Muslim student in Florida nicknamed “Clock Boy” brought what looked to be an authentic suitcase bomb into the classroom, and school officials immediately had him detained by police)
Obama’s relaxed discipline policies were thought to have contributed to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland) shooting in Florida, which left 17 people dead.
NY Post Obama’s lax discipline policies have resulted in chaos at many schools
Chicago Teachers Union complained the city’s revised student-discipline code has left teachers struggling to control unruly kids. “It’s just basically been a totally lawless few months,” one teacher told the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune also reported students have suffered little consequence for infractions as serious as groping a teacher and bringing hollow-point bullets to class.
In Syracuse, NY, teachers complained student behavior has worsened since the school district collapsed discipline structures in favor of restorative justice practices. They say teens are more apt to fight, mouth off to teachers and roam the halls under the more lenient policy. They’re even seeing increasingly violent behavior among elementary school children.
Los Angeles Unified School District is seeing a similar spike in campus offenses after its school superintendent followed federal orders to reduce suspensions of African-Americans. Even threats against teachers are ignored, as administrators’ hands are tied by the new policy. “I was terrified and bullied by a fourth-grade student,” a teacher at a Los Angeles Unified School District school recently noted. “The black student told me to ‘Back off, bitch.’ I told him to go to the office and he said, ‘No, bitch, and no one can make me.’ ”
Defiance toward teachers is on the rise in Philadelphia public schools, as well, where talking circles have replaced suspensions. A former Philly middle-school teacher complains minority students act out and then dare teachers to kick them out of class, knowing full well their hands are now tied. “I’m going to torture you,” Allen Zollman says one student told him. “I’m doing this because I can’t be removed.”
“There have been serious threats against teachers,” Oakland High School science teacher Nancy Caruso told the Christian Science Monitor, and yet the students weren’t expelled. She notes a student who set another student’s hair on fire received a “restorative” talk in lieu of suspension.
“Our decision to rescind that guidance today makes it clear that discipline is a matter on which classroom teachers and local school leaders deserve and need autonomy,” Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos said, according to the AP. “