Should teachers be disciplining or educating?
The Obama administration is issuing new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are punished for violating school rules.
Civil rights advocates have long said that a “school-to-prison” pipeline stems from overly zealous school discipline policies targeting black and Hispanic students that bring them out of school and into the court system.
According to the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder said the problem often stems from well-intentioned “zero-tolerance” policies that too often inject the criminal justice system into the resolution of problems. Zero tolerance policies, a tool that became popular in the 1990s, often spell out uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or carrying a weapon. Violators can lose classroom time or become saddled with a criminal record.
In American schools, black students without disabilities were more than three times as likely as whites to be expelled or suspended, according to government civil rights data collection from 2011-2012. Although black students made up 15 percent of students in the data collection, they made up more than a third of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once and more than a third of students expelled.
More than half of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black, according to the data.
The recommendations being issued Wednesday encourage schools to ensure that all school personnel are trained in classroom management, conflict resolution and approaches to de-escalate classroom disruptions.
Among the other recommendations:
-Ensure that school personnel understand that they are responsible for administering routine student discipline instead of security or police officers.
-Draw clear distinctions about the responsibilities of school security personnel.
-Provide opportunities for school security officers to develop relationships with students and parents.
The government advises schools to establish procedures on how to distinguish between disciplinary infractions appropriately handled by school officials compared with major threats to school safety. And, it encourages schools to collect and monitor data that security or police officers take to ensure nondiscrimination.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration and civil rights advocates have good ideas but offer no clear way on how such disciplinary changes could be put into practice. The federal government continues to push changes on schools in order to steer students in the right direction via correct discipline and Common Core. But, as this newspaper has written time and time again, how can the government expect teachers to provide an excellent education while also having to play mommy and daddy, doing the disciplining that should be done at home? Does the Obama administration plan on addressing the ridiculous number of lazy and useless parents in this country?
Share your thoughts on this topic with the Jennings Daily News and its readers. Is the government putting too much responsibility on teachers to discipline children, especially now that it is making race a factor, too? Do you think children can receive good educations if disciplinary concerns take top priority in the classroom?
Email your opinions to jdne...@bellsouth.net or mail it to P.O. Box 910, Jennings, LA, 70546.
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