From The New York Post by Paul Sperry, February 15, 2014
The Obama administration, without Congressional approval, is changing rules for discipline at your children’s schools, so that teachers can no longer kick students who misbehave out of the classroom. They’re relaxing the protocols for punishing even violent kids, compounding fears about classroom safety in a post-Newtown world.
New school-discipline guidelines issued last month by Education Secretary Arne Duncan are based on a “framework” recently formulated by the New York-based Dignity in Schools Campaign.
Following Dignity’s recommendations, the administration is pressuring schools to keep disruptive minority students in the classroom. The new federal guidelines call for a moratorium on suspensions, now demonized as “racist” because they have a “disparate impact” on black students. They also discourage school authorities from bringing police onto campuses even in some violent cases.
“Racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem today,” Duncan claimed in announcing the new policy. But chances are he outsourced this “solution.”
“I doubt he had anything to do with the actual drafting of these guidelines,” said former Education Department official Hans Bader, maintaining he gave the job to “left-wing radicals.”
Indeed, Duncan’s guidelines adopt Dignity’s recommendation that schools enroll troubled kids in “restorative circles” and other culturally sensitive programs instead of suspending them.
Under this approach offenders are allowed to negotiate the consequences for their bad behavior, which usually involves anger-management counseling and “dialogue sessions,” in which teachers join unruly students in “talking circles” to foster greater “cultural understanding.” Talk invariably turns to racism and “white bias.”
Dignity says the powwows “combat bias that contributes to disproportionate discipline.”
Of course, they also provide rowdy minorities an excuse for continued bad behavior.
New York City public schools recently adopted “restorative counseling” as an alternative to suspensions, now banned as a punishment for one-time minor infractions.
“Taking a restorative approach to discipline changes the fundamental questions that are asked when a behavioral incident occurs,” the department’s new discipline code states. Instead of asking who’s to blame and how they should be punished, it addresses “underlying factors” that lead youth to act out.
The Obama administration is tying school funding to compliance with its discipline guidelines, while at the same time threatening discrimination lawsuits.
But relaxed discipline policies threaten to undo the benefits of zero tolerance policies started in 2004. Under the Impact School initiative, New York schools partnered with the NYPD to crack down on campus crime, resulting in a 55% plunge in violent school incidents, according to city data.