It’s now considered racist to punish thieves in school

It’s now considered racist to punish thieves in school

An ‘equity audit’ of North Providence School District says ‘taking or attempting to take personal property should not result in suspension because it can be a result of…cultural mis-understandings.'” In essence, if you are a thief, you can say, “Sorry I stole your stuff. It’s my culture,” notes Nicole Solas.

Its “recommendations” complain that in existing school rules against theft, “There is no mention of any unconscious bias which can lead to the disproportionate amounts of students of color being disciplined….Taking or attempting to take personal property should not result in suspension because it can be a result of developmental or cultural mis-understandings.”

The Education Secretary argues that corporal punishment is racist, although less learning loss occurs when a misbehaving student is paddled than when he is suspended. In time-sensitive settings, corporal punishment can be essential. As even the famously progressive American Psychological Association has conceded, “Corporal punishment is effective in getting children to comply immediately,” “Corporal punishment leads to more immediate compliant behavior in children,” and a meta-analysis of 88 studies shows that “There is general consensus that corporal punishment is effective in getting children to comply immediately.”

Progressive education officials criticize corporal punishment and school suspensions as tainted by racial bias because blacks are 2.3 times as likely to be given corporal punishment than whites, and more than twice as likely to be suspended as whites.

But this doesn’t prove racism. The higher black discipline rate is because black students misbehave at higher rates than white or Asian students, meaning that their suspensions and expulsions are due to their behavior rather than racism. As education policy expert Michael Petrilli notes, “In 2015, high school students were asked if they had been in a fight on school property at any time in the past 12 months. African American students were 2.2 times more likely to say yes than white students — 11.4 percent to 5.2 percent.” A 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that higher rates of “prior problem behavior” among black students — not racism — explained why black students are suspended at a higher rate. Thus, racial disparities in discipline don’t usually reflect racism. As the liberal Brookings Institution has noted, “Black students are also more likely to come from family backgrounds associated with school behavior problems; for example, children ages 12–17 that come from single-parent families are at least twice as likely to be suspended as children from two-parent families.” (2017 Brown Center Report on American Education, pp. 30-31).

What some progressives would like — a requirement that all races be punished at the same rate, irrespective of behavior — is an unconstitutional racial quota. For example, a federal appeals court struck down a rule imposed by a progressive judge that forbade a “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,” ruling that was a forbidden racial quota. As it noted, “Racial disciplinary quotas violate equity” by “either systematically overpunishing the innocent or systematically underpunishing the guilty,” and thus violate the requirement that “discipline be administered without regard to race or ethnicity.” (People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education (1997)).

The higher black discipline rate is not due to white supremacy. Asians, who are not white, have the lowest school discipline rate. In in California, Asians were suspended for misconduct at about one-fourth the rate of whites, and were suspended at only one-fifteenth the rate of black students, who had the highest suspension rate. (See Tom Loveless, The 2017 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?, Brookings Institution, March 2017, pg. 25).

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.