Zero Tolerance

Schools Implement Explicit Racial Bias in Suspensions

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Child
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The good: Minneapolis Public Schools want to decrease total suspensions for non-violent infractions of school rules.

The bad: The district has pledged to do this by implementing a special review system for cases where a black or Latino student is disciplined. Only minority students will enjoy this special privilege.

That seems purposefully unconstitutional—and is likely illegal, according to certain legal minds.

The new policy is the result of negotiations between MPS and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Minority students are disciplined at much higher rates than white students, and for two years the federal government has investigated whether that statistic was the result of institutional racism.

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson has been working to decrease suspensions district-wide. She has encouraged other forms of mediation to take precedence in cases where a student's behavior is merely inappropriate, rather than violent. That's all well and good; public schools have gone discipline-crazy over the years, punishing students all-too-harshly for silly reasons every day. Any respite from overcriminalization is welcome.

Any respite, except this one:

Moving forward, every suspension of a black or brown student will be reviewed by the superintendent's leadership team. The school district aims to more deeply understand the circumstances of suspensions with the goal of providing greater supports to the school, student or family in need. This team could choose to bring in additional resources for the student, family and school.

That comes directly from Johnson's desk. I suppose it's well-intentioned—but don't all students, regardless of skin color, deserve to have their disciplinary issues adjudicated under the same standards? And yet Johnson is committed to reducing suspensions for minority students by a specific percentage, irrespective of the facts of the individual cases:

MPS must aggressively reduce the disproportionality between black and brown students and their white peers every year for the next four years. This will begin with a 25 percent reduction in disproportionality by the end of this school year; 50 percent by 2016; 75 percent by 2017; and 100 percent by 2018.

Hans Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and former Office for Civil Rights lawyer, tells me that this disciplinary quota system violates 7th Circuit Court precedent established in a 1997 case, People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education. In that decision, the court determined that it was unconstitutional for a school to mandate that black students be disciplined at identical rates as white students. That policy was discriminatory on its face, since it would result in children receiving different punishments depending on their race.

Instead of doing to high school discipline what activists have done to college admissions, let's relax zero tolerance for everyone.

Clarification: Minnesota is under the jurisdiction of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. But, as Bader told me, the 8th often follows the 7th. And the author of the Rockford decision was none other than Judge Richard Posner, one of the most well-respected legal minds in the country. So there is every reason to expect that MPS's racial disciplinary quota would similarly be deemed unconstitutional.

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84 responses to “Schools Implement Explicit Racial Bias in Suspensions

  1. Maybe the students can be given quotas – say, four acts of vandalism per student per year per year and starting five fights. Every student should be expected to commit exactly that many infractions, no more, no less, so as not to skew the figures. Then apply the same discipline to each offense and…problem solved!

  2. “Hans Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and former Office for Civil Rights lawyer, tells me that this disciplinary quota system violates 7th Circuit Court precedent established in a 1997 case, People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education.”

    Minnesota is in the 7th Circuit?

    “In that decision, the court determined that it was unconstitutional for a school to mandate that black students be disciplined at identical rates as white students.”

    I don’t see that in the opinion at first glance. I do see they had a quota established for minority teachers as a response to discriminatory disciplinary results for students.

    1. I was aware that Minnesota is in a different circuit, but forgot to clarify in the post. That’s now been noted.

      1. I’d add though that “Posner is one of the most respected minds so his opinion is probably right” might not be the best argument either. Posner’s well respected, but he’s a bit polarizing as well.

        1. Christ you’re annoying.

        2. Posner wasn’t polarizing in this case. The Seventh Circuit struck down the racial suspension quotas UNANIMOUSLY in a 3-to-0 opinion. Here is the relevant passage, from page 538 of its ruling:

          “The decree forbids the school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline unless the district purges all ‘subjective’ criteria from its disciplinary code. The decree requires this even though important disciplinary criteria (such as disrupting classes) are unavoidably judgmental and hence ‘subjective’ within the sense of the decree, and even though the disparity in minority and white referrals is smaller in the Rockford school district than in the nation as a whole. This provision cannot stand. . .Racial disciplinary quotas violate equity in its root sense. They entail either systematically overpunishing the innocent or systematically underpunishing the guilty. They place race at war with justice. They teach schoolchildren an unedifying lesson of racial entitlements. And they incidentally are inconsistent with another provision of the decree, which requires that discipline be administered without regard to race or ethnicity.”

          See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997). On page 534, the court rejects the “disparate impact” argument for using race.

        3. Bo-Bo, you really shouldn’t speak with authority about anything, even the thing you claim to be studying. Why you ask? Because you usually full of shit, frequently as wrong as wrong can get, and because you are so fucking smarmy about it you look all the more stupid.

    2. It is in the opinion. Such racial-percentage rules violate the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528 (7th Cir. 1997), which struck down as a violation of the Constitution’s equal protection clause a rule that forbade a “school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline.”

      That court ruling also explicitly rejected the argument that such a rule is permissible to prevent “disparate impact,” stating that remedying disparate impact is not a compelling state interest.

      I discuss the unconstitutionality of such rules, and why they are based on multiple misinterpretations of Title VI, in the Daily Caller, in a commentary you can find at this link: http://dailycaller.com/2014/06…..to-quotas/

    3. It’s not a quota system, it is an extra stage of review to remediate bias without implementing a forbidden quota.

      Seesh!

      1. The fact that more blacks than whites are being suspended does not reflect bias, so there is little if any bias to remediate.

        Higher black suspension rates reflect higher rates of misbehavior among blacks, not racism by school officials.

        Misconduct rates are not the same for different races. A 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice by criminologists like John Paul Wright found that racial disparities in student discipline result from more frequent misbehavior by blacks, not racism. The study, entitled “Prior Problem Behavior Accounts for the Racial Gap in School Suspensions,” concluded that higher black suspension rates are “completely accounted for” by students’ own behavior.

        The Education Department has claimed that higher black suspension rates are the product of racism by schools. That contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Armstrong. It rejected the “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, which is “contradicted by” reality. Blacks, who are only 13 percent of the population, commit nearly half of all murders.

        The Education Department once claimed there is no evidence of “more frequent” misbehavior by minority students. But the homicide rate is 10 times higher for black teenagers than for whites.

        1. Higher black suspension rates reflect higher rates of misbehavior among blacks, not racism by school officials.

          We live in 2014. When reality doesn’t conform to our preferences, we declare that reality is wrong.

          But the homicide rate is 10 times higher for black teenagers than for whites.

          But lots of people want to imagine that it isn’t so, they want everyone to be perfectly equal in all capacities. Even differing cultures should be considered ‘equal’ no matter how backwards, damaging to children or harmful to people in general, that culture might be.

  3. “Black or brown?”

    Wot?

    Are my kids considered brown? They’re half-Filipino, and decidedly brown-ish, though not as brown as their mother.

    1. They have swatches for that.

    2. I think it is supposed to tell us that it is not just applied to people of African descent.

    3. Yes, they can claim historical marginalization privileges under the “Civilize them with a Krag” provision.

    4. Are my kids considered brown?

      Someone fetch the brown paper bag.

    5. Hold on. I have a paper bag here somewhere.

  4. Yes, let’s combat unofficial, possible institutional racism with explicit and official institutional racism. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Why do you lily white crackers hate Affirmative Action? check your privlidge(s), stop hate speech, cease othering, etc.

      1. Affirmative action is racist since it assumes minorities can’t succeed on their own merits and require special handouts.

        1. Judging by the overwhelming percentage of blacks that are populist, progressive or outright socialist; I think it’s fair to say that they can’t survive on their own. At least not so long as Uncle Sam keeps them on the political plantation.

  5. Minority students are disciplined at much higher rates than white students, and for two years the federal government has investigated whether that statistic was the result of institutional racism.

    “Reality and common sense are not conforming to our radical ideology! We must investigate!”

    1. Forget it, Papa …It’s MinnesoodaTown.

      1. Not just MN – it’s happening everywhere.

    2. You talk like disparate impacts have never been the result of racist intent or policies.

      1. Sure, they can be, but all disparate impacts aren’t necessarily the result of racist intent. Of course, in today’s progthink, they all are. That’s the idiocy I am mocking.

        1. I agree they can’t assumed to be, but I have no problem with the feds looking into it when such disparities seem glaring from state and local governments. If there’s one role for the federal government it’s that kind of thing.

          1. I’m sure its due to all those racist teachers who choose to work with poor brown children in the inner cities just so they can continue their white oppression, and nothing to do with the actions of the poor brown children themselves.

          2. I do. We all ready KNOW what the problem is: blacks and browns have far less respect for rules and are far more violent. The “disparate impact” of the policy is due to the disparate actions the different races take. We’ve known this is the true “problem” for decades, but SJW need a cause and money to be taken from taxpayers and put into their own pockts. This is yet ANOTHER racket for corrupt lawyers to bilk millions out of the tax payer.

          3. “If there’s one role for the federal government it’s that kind of thing.”

            A proposterous statement if there ever was one.

          4. I have no problem with the feds looking into it when such disparities seem glaring from state and local governments. If there’s one role for the federal government it’s that kind of thing.

            Yeah because they’re so unbiased and even-handed themselves.

      2. I bet in your lifetime the intent and policies were mostly explicitly racist. Like the one described in the post.

        1. To make my point clear, if you promote, support or tolerate racial discrimination (aka affirmative action), then don’t you fucking dare mention fucking disparate impact. You’re a confirmed racist, and I don’t care what you may think about fighting racism.

      3. They haven’t.

        The entire concept of ‘disparate impact was created to address situation where there was black underperformance in the absence of racist action.

      4. Like this policy, for example.

  6. Wish I could remember the details more clearly, but a few years ago two incidents occured around the same time here in New Hampshire. Some knuckleheads let the air out of one tire each on the school busses overnight. Not realizing their clever prank would shut down the district. Around the same time an immigrant boy from SE Asia (Laotian?) was rejected by a white girl he wanted to date, so he and his friend beat her up, knocking out her front teeth.

    Which ones were threatened with felony charges and which ones were handled by the school as a confidential matter ?

    1. Holy shit. Which one was beat within an inch of his life by an irate father?

      1. yeah that has to be the one.

        In the same vein, when I lived in Chicago there was a case of a fender bender, and a father and son who were Hmong beat up the other driver. Their lawyer, in their defense, claimed it was a cultural thing. So the judge ordered some sensitivity training so they could learn that in America you don’t beat people up over a fender bender. Outrage ensued…at the judge, of course.

  7. Minority students are disciplined at much higher rates than white students, and for two years the federal government has investigated whether that statistic was the result of institutional racism.

    Having studied this, I can tell you the dirty little secret is that when you disaggregated the statistics this discrepancy pretty much disappears when the teacher isn’t a White female. Of course, as the vast majority of the teaching corps is White middle-class females, this uncomfortable truth tends to get swept under the rug despite the best efforts of folks like Irizarry, Nieto, Ware, Bondy & Ross, Delpit, and Noguera.

    1. But if so, it could mean two things: 1) White female teachers are racists, or 2) minority students are sexists and/or racists, and give white female teachers a harder time, resulting in more disciplinary actions. Or some combination of the two.

      1. Could also just be that more white female teachers are unfamiliar or put off by behaviors or things which might be more prominent in the cultural background of black students and more willing to use punishment when experiencing them.

        1. behaviors or things which might be more prominent in the cultural background of black students

          OK, I’ll bite. What are these “behaviors or things”?

          1. Right after you tell me where da white women at?

            1. Don’ be dissin’ me.

            2. Apparently they’re in the classrooms, disproportionately punishing students of color.

          2. *** crickets ***

            1. Give him time. He’s searching the Tavis Smiley archives.

        2. Sure, Bo, because teachers these days never have any “multicultural” or “diversity” or “anti-racism” training.

          Face, it dude: minority students get punished more often because minority students act up in school more often.

        3. Or, it could be many, many white female teachers actually dislike boys.

        4. “white female teachers are unfamiliar or put off by behaviors or things which might be more prominent in the cultural background of black students”

          Like the knock out game? Yeah, those cracker white-bread chicks should be more sensitive to black thugs.

        5. prominent in the cultural background of black students

          Cultures are not created equal or deserving of equal respect. That’s an indisputable fact for anyone with a shred of moral insight.

      2. It can also mean that the non-white female teachers are racist, giving a pass to the unruly non-white students.

        1. As well as cooking up infractions against the white kids.

    2. as every PBS programs remind us: “This program made possible by white, middle-class females”.

      1. I thought it was Fjorhus Lykkewe.

        Forget it, I was thinking of NPR.

    3. when you disaggregated the statistics

      IOW, segregated the statistics.

    4. Given the differences in violent crime rates, that would be shocking.

  8. Hello Minnesotans, meet your Education Bureaucracy, the dumbest fucktwits in the country.

  9. “the 8th often follows the 7th”

    Maybe not in Minnesota

  10. The district has pledged to do this by implementing a special review system for cases where a black or Latino student is disciplined. Only minority students will enjoy this special privilege.

    There’s not a facepalm big enough to deal with this situation.

  11. If I wasn’t jaded and cynical from years of lurking HyR I’d call peak derp right now. But I know it’s not true.

  12. That sucking sound you hear is the remaining white students in majority school districts “of color” leaving if they’re at all able to.

    This is how districts become segregated.

    1. And they’re not leaving because of “institutional racism” that unfairly punishes minority students more often than they deserve.

    2. But remember, at least it’s not as racist as school choice, or something.

  13. I’m confused how there is institutional racism in Prog-Blue Minnesota in an education system that is Prog-Blue NEA members. I have been assured that such things only happen when orchestrated by Racist, Redneck Teathuglicans, or even worse, Libertarians.


    1. Report: NY Schools are most racially segregated

      Quote:
      “In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation – no Southern state comes close to New York,” Orfield said.

      Other states with highly segregated schools include Illinois, Michigan and California, according to the Civil Rights Project.

  14. When my second eldest, now 35, was in Grade 6 I got a call from the school. He had been making sexually violent motions towards a girl in his class. The principal wanted to meet me. When my son came home from school I asked him about it. He agreed that is exactly what he had done. What happened was the little girl had been following him around the school yard accusing him and his buddy of giving each other blow jobs. This was expressed crudely and loudly and had been continuous for about a month. Eventually he turned to her and ala Michael Jackson, as his videos were popular then, my son grabbed his crouch, made some humping motions towards the girl and said ‘you’re just jealous because you want a piece of this’.

    1. To make matters worse he had told the teacher about the girls behavior for the entire month. The teacher said ‘sticks and stones…’ etc. And, told him to ignore her.

      I went to the school furious. Fortunately, for the principal she missed our meeting and it was held instead by the teacher. She acknowledged 100% she was wrong, and apologized to my son.

      However, the principal was still wanting to have my son treated as a sex offender. And, thought the little girl was just ‘exploring her sexuality’. I told the principal to go ahead and do what she felt she must do, but she should understand I would sue her, and the school board, and I would stop at nothing until she lost her job, even it took me ten years. She decided to let it go.

      I am looking forward to the day when little boys are treated as nicely as little girls are treated in the public school system. But, I don’t expect it anytime soon.

  15. So the schools notice that they’re disciplining black and Latino students more than white students, and they implement zero tolerance policies to eliminate any possibility of discriminatory discretion causing it. The problem remains, so they plan to reintroduce discretionary discipline.

    *popcorn*

  16. Racial disparity is a huge thing in Minneapolis, and Minnesota in general. http://www.minneapolisfoundati…..e/Why.aspx

    The biggest problem is that the white population is above average compared to the country, and the black population is below average. I think it’s great to “do something” but they’re doing all the wrong things. It seems like they’re bringing the whites down because that’s the easiest thing to do.

    1. It seems like they’re bringing the whites down because that’s the easiest thing to do.

      When trying to equalize, that’s the only thing they can do. The government doesn’t have some magic wand to magically raise standards of living, but they do have some men with guns that are perfectly adequate to lower standards of living.

  17. Can we have a quota for bureaucrats who do stupid things.

  18. It is not a disciplinary quota system. Rather, it is a recognition that black and Latinos are subject to more and harsher discipline than whites, and scientific studies that show this is due to unconscious bias rather than actual behavior. Therefore, an extra stage of review is a completely legal way to ensure that the system treats all fairly.

    1. Trolling, right?

  19. This woman is dumb as a rock. ANYone with a decent high school education would know that this is an awful idea. But she didn’t. Any wonder her school district is in serious trouble already? Her last announcement was shock that teachers rated good were allowed to work in schools rated good. She went on immediately to try to change that, because bad schools need the best teachers.

    1. They’re in an impossible situation. Without going out of their way to ignore bad behavior by minorities, they’re going to keep having the feds angry at them for disciplining minorities more than whites. So they have to keep trying something new, but their options are very limited.

      1. The solution is to very loudly and publicly tell the feds to go fornicate themselves. Politely, of course.

  20. MY son went ONE year to a local Minneapolis elementary in one of the “best neighborhoods” in town. All they did at school was manage personalities. They were three years behind the suburban schools in instruction. Now I drive him to a high preforming suburban district until we can move. It’s not only
    politically correct and ridiculous, it’s wrought with racism. It’s a low instructive day care center and the teachers have more time off work than they work. Fine example of Unionized, “state school”.
    It’s kind of sick because the locals thinks that the unions and the schools have the best intentions for the kids. Flipping brain washed. Wonder if I could “sue” the school district for gas and wear and tear on the car. Our property taxes are horrible here, too. Gov’t at it’s best.

    1. The estimates I’ve seen indicate that Minneapolis schools spend $20k-$23k per pupil. Yay value!

  21. Oh and btw, these groups that are under this “restorative judicial act” through funding from the DOJ….
    Their brats, they’ve been getting special treatment for a while and there is no “rule of law” and they are learning at a very young age to run a muck.

  22. This pretty much means that Black and Brown students who deserve punishment of some sort, will not be punished by the school, but will instead punish the students through their disruptive, even dangerous, actions. The school does fine, the students continue their descent into public school hell, eventually dropping out.
    Why is it that everything the Lefties touch, they destroy?

  23. Hey, what about the girls? Shouldn’t they be suspending and expelling more girls?

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