The DOJ wants zero tolerance policies eliminated, an idea that would engender widespread agreement, if only he left it at that. He didn’t. Eric Holder brought race into it and stated that the numbers of minority students being disciplined are too high. He also said that discipline of minorities leveled by schools can be investigated by the DOJ and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
Will discipline be regulated by numbers of minority students being disciplined instead of behavior and will minority students escape discipline? Having served as a school administrator for three decades, I can tell you it will or school administrators will face endless lawsuits, threats of firing and even arrests in some cases.
Eric Holder, law enforcement, head of the DOJ, while addressing zero tolerance, is usurping the power of school administrators by strongly advising schools how to handle discipline.
From the memorandum:
“The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice (Departments) are issuing this guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools in meeting their obligations under Federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.”
“Many schools have adopted comprehensive, appropriate, and effective programs demonstrated to: (1) reduce disruption and misconduct; (2) support and reinforce positive behavior and character development; and (3) help students succeed. Successful programs may incorporate a wide range of strategies to reduce misbehavior and maintain a safe learning environment, including conflict resolution, restorative practices, counseling, and structured systems of positive interventions. The Departments recognize that schools may use disciplinary measures as part of a program to promote safe and orderly educational environments.”
The strong suggestion here is that schools better be able to show a series of positive interventions before punishment is meted out.
Then there is this threat:
“Regardless of the program adopted, Federal law prohibits public school districts from discriminating in the administration of student discipline based on certain personal characteristics.”
“The Departments [the Departments of Education, Office of Civil Rights, and the DOJ] initiate investigations of student discipline policies and practices at particular schools based on complaints the Departments receive from students, parents, community members, and others about possible racial discrimination in student discipline.”
In other words, schools cannot discipline minority students without being under threat and the students will know it.
Even more absurd, the government is going to judge schools by the numbers, not by what they are doing. Soon we will be releasing minority prisoners from jail because there are too many of them.
“The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), conducted by OCR, has demonstrated that students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers.”
This is what happens when Big Government interferes in every aspect of our lives.
You can read the threatening letter on this link.