‘Extreme Discipline’ Targets Minority US School Kids: Report

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2013/01/17 — Jackson, MS

Civil rights groups in the United States released a report Thursday claiming that harsh punishments at schools across Mississippi have led to a disproportionate number of minority students being suspended, expelled, and jailed for minor infractions.

“The needless criminalization of Mississippi’s most valuable asset – its children – must be dealt with immediately by school leaders and the communities they serve,” said Nancy Kohsin Kintigh, the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Program Director for Mississippi, in a statement.

“Zero-tolerance policies were originally designed to protect students from individuals who pose a threat on school grounds. Instead, they are being used to send children home for trivial things that should be solved in the principal’s office,” she said.

“Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools,” the report released by the ACLU, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups, finds children have been harshly punished for violating school dress codes and other similar behaviors.

It also claims black students are affected by harsh discipline procedures at a much greater rate than white students, and cites a study of more than a hundred Mississippi school districts that finds for every one white student who is given an out-of-school suspension, three black students are suspended, even though black students comprise just half of the student population.

The report details several specific examples including:

· Students playfully throwing peanuts at one another on a school bus ended in five black male high school students being arrested for felony assault after one of the peanuts hit the white female bus driver.

· A five-year-old boy taken from his school by police and transported to his home for violating the school dress code, which requires black shoes. His mother had used a black marker to cover red and white decorations on the shoes, but some of the decorations could be seen.

· A student who was sent to a juvenile detention center for wearing the wrong color socks, considered to be a probation violation from a previous fight.

The report follows a lawsuit filed in October by the US Department of Justice, which accuses officials in Meridian, Mississippi, including two youth-court judges, of operating a “school-to-prison pipeline” that pushes children out of school and into the criminal justice system.

The defendants named in the lawsuit have denied the charges, according to The Associated Press.

According to the report, “The school-to-prison pipeline is nothing new in Mississippi and it is certainly not unique to Meridian. In fact, it is a problem that has plagued Mississippi schools statewide for years.”

In “Handcuffs on Success,” the authors make a series of recommendations to Mississippi state legislators, including a more graduated approach to discipline rather than a strict, zero-tolerance policy for minor violations, and saving the most severe consequences such as arrests, referrals to detention centers, and long-term suspensions, for only serious infractions that threaten school safety.

“We encourage Mississippi legislators and education officials to consider commonsense, tested policies that improve school quality, public safety and economic prosperity,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director of the Advancement Project, one of the other groups that released the report.

“Implementing a graduated approach to discipline, and using non-punitive measures focused on preventing misbehavior by providing supportive interventions, have been proven to reduce suspensions and expulsions while creating safe, effective learning environments for our youth,” she added in a statement.

Source: RIA NOVOSTI online

7 Comments

  1. llangston11

    On Jan 19, 2013

    Wow I guess the more things change the more they stay the same. They winner [wonder] why people of color feel like “they” are out to get us.

  2. Bob Roberts

    On Jan 22, 2013

    Google Marty Nemko What it’s like to teach black students for a better picture of the problem. I worked with inner city youths at one point and his observations are pretty accurate.

  3. justme24

    On Mar 27, 2013

    …wow racism still exist!

  4. sally

    On May 20, 2013

    I get that the shoe thing was stupid.

    But the peanut throwing AND hitting the driver with it is is unsafe. 1. Too many peanut allergies these days, students and/or the diver could be affected with allergies to them. 2. Total disregard for the safety of the driver DRIVING kids. I bet she would be blamed if there was a crash! Would they get away with is behavior if it has in their family car? Doubt it!

    The last one stated ” A student who was sent to a juvenile detention center for wearing the wrong color socks, considered to be a probation violation from a previous fight.” So the student WAS ON PROBATION ALREADY!!! So he feels he is above the law and doesn’t have follow the rules? That is one thing I hate the most, the feeling some people have of ENTITLEMENT, Why do “I” have to follow rules. Well then you go to juvie, No one else to blame but yourself!

  5. tommy

    On Sep 8, 2013

    C’mon Sally… show me one person with a peanut allergy that has had a reaction from one bouncing off of them. Felony assault? Maybe it it was shot from a slingshot. The driver should have told them to stop, then report them to the principal if they continued where they could then face detention, brief suspension, note home, even a paddling, but not felony assault charges. How would YOU or your friend’s lives have turned out with felonies on your records for every time you misbehaved, even trivially in elementary school?

    In the family car, they might have be punished by restriction, loss of privleges, spanking or whatever, not mom or dad calling the authorities and pressing felony charges.

    And you agree that a kid who’s mom gave him the wrong color socks is a probation violating offense? Sally, please tell me you don’t have children and don’t plan on it. Traumatizing children and strikes on their record is not the way to raise them into responible adults with any self-esteem.

    I’m curious to hear your justification of the child that was arrested for flatulence…

  6. Calvin

    On Jan 9, 2014

    A racist attorney general accusing others of racism against his race?

    I’m shocked, shocked I say!

    This is just an excuse to try and justify a takeover of public schools by the federal government. Especially when you realize the policies they are allegedly upset about (no tolerance) were implemented by liberals as a response to ‘gun safety’ issues.

    A rational person would say that if no tolerance policies were the problem then the solution is to stop using those idiotic policies and make new ones, not have a racist attorney general impose his views on local schools.

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