President Obama has released federal guidelines for classroom discipline to reduce the amount of racism in public education which contributes to low-income students as being more severely punished for violating school rules.
The Obama administration is making clear their position that the federal government should be the ultimate controller of how discipline is doled out under the guise of protecting minority groups in classrooms.
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.”
Fairness and quality as defined by the federal government is as of now voluntary under strict penalty if these guidelines are not followed.
Arne Duncan, secretary of the DoE stated: “The challenge is finding the balancing act to keep school safe and orderly, but when it comes to routine discipline the first instinct should not be to call 911 when there’s a problem.”
African-American and Hispanic students are directly benefiting from this change that is touted as the end of the “school-to-prison” pipeline that keeps certain groups running through the revolving door of court and jail during their lifetime.
Holder expressed: “Ordinary troublemaking can sometimes provoke responses that are overly severe, including out of school suspensions, expulsions and even referral to law enforcement and then you end up with kids that end up in police precincts instead of the principal’s office.”
These recommendations include:
• Classroom management training for school faculty
• New guidelines on the differential between disciplinary infractions and threats to school safety
• Educators classes for conflict resolution to de-escalate classroom disruptions
• 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
Public school personnel are encouraged to collect information and data on students daily which can be handed over to law enforcement.
In a letter to school districts across the nation, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Education (DoE) have stated : “In our investigations, we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students. In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.”