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Author Topic: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias  (Read 668 times)

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Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« on: January 19, 2014, 12:26:44 PM »
This was an issue that we were discussing at work recently, and I am interested to hear what you guys think.

The Department of Justice recently sent out a memo to K-12 schools across the country, stating that zero-tolerance school policies are a violation of federal law since they end up punishing some races in greater numbers, even when those greater rates of punishment are justified, and are the result of a neutral law that applies equally to all students across the board.

Currently, boys get into trouble much more frequently than girls. And black, Hispanic and Native American children are more likely to grow up in single-parent households, and have higher misbehavior rates than white and Asian students.  The basis of this ideology is known as "disparate impact."  It basically assigns a quota for discipline based on race, and claims that "zero-tolerance" laws that apply equal to all students are in fact racist.  It tends to create a manufactured scenario where some students are given lenient punishments for the sake of maintaining across-the-board statistics that are in line with the DOJ's definition of profiling.

This has caused a real controversy in the education community, and many of my colleagues don't think this is a good idea.  There is merit to having zero-tolerance policies, and out-of-school suspension.  While I certainly agree that black and hispanic students are facing some real challenges, and changes are required in how the system operates, I do not think this is the right approach at all.  Do you have any thoughts on this?

Public Schools Urged To Weed Out Discriminatory Disciplinary Policies
http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/08/public-schools-urged-to-weed-out-discriminatory-disciplinary-policies/
Federal guidelines unveiled to avoid racial bias in school discipline
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-school-discipline-20140108,0,4865824.story#axzz2qruwa8GQ
Obama administration recommends ending 'zero-tolerance' policies in schools
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2014/01/obama-administration-recommends-ending-zero-tolerance-policies-in-schools.html
Official Letter - (lengthy)
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201401-title-vi.pdf

Offline Oniya

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 12:36:43 PM »
If this goes through, then it's actually applying a more direct bias.  Imagine this:  Two students, never been in trouble before, get in a fight.  The only difference is their race.  Note that I am not specifying what those races are.  One gets a suspension, the other doesn't.  Wouldn't we call that a racist policy?

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 12:50:13 PM »
Yeah, I'm not suggesting that there isn't bias, because some of what they are saying is true - like the fact that many of these kids have a one-way ticket to jail because of their environment.  But making this about race is ridiculous, because white kids growing up in those environments face the same hurdles.

Offline Neysha

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 01:02:11 PM »
Agreed.

Zero Tolerance policies are stupid not because of race, but because it's an excuse for the school administrations to remove independent thought from another issue of education.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 02:46:10 PM »
I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in keeping the school-to-prison pipeline open wide.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 03:10:48 PM »
I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in keeping the school-to-prison pipeline open wide.

If anything, going light on disciplining certain students is only going to fuel this school-to-prison pipeline, so I don't disagree with you on that.

Offline Neysha

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 05:20:27 PM »
I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in keeping the school-to-prison pipeline open wide.

I... nevermind.

*walks away*

Offline Oniya

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 05:59:10 PM »
I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in keeping the school-to-prison pipeline open wide.

To what benefit?  People in prisons do not contribute in any meaningful way to society.  What advantage is it to any government to increase amount of drain on its resources?

Offline Kythia

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 08:23:18 PM »
It's to keep the populace locked down, man.  Bound by the shackles of conformity so when the lizard people and their puppet UN rise to form a one world government we'll all be brainwashed sheep.  Fight the power.

Offline Oniya

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 09:19:23 PM »
It's to keep the populace locked down, man.  Bound by the shackles of conformity so when the lizard people and their puppet UN rise to form a one world government we'll all be brainwashed sheep.  Fight the power.

I want scientific sources on the existence of those lizard people. :P

Offline IStateYourName

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 10:08:14 PM »
To what benefit?  People in prisons do not contribute in any meaningful way to society.  What advantage is it to any government to increase amount of drain on its resources?

It isn't.  Fiscally at least.  But the U.S. government loves to lock people up, more than any other nation.  The expense of which is why we now have a privately operated gulag archipelago in America.  One which, by the way, caters to kids in some areas.  Local governments get contracts, the private prison gets a guaranteed supply of butts to rape.  So yes, I have a pretty strong skepticism of the American "justice" system, in and out of schools.

As for whether kids need more discipline, I've seen both ends of the spectrum.  I've seen young punks who do indeed need an ass-whupping, and I've seen kids who go through various circles of Hell most of us wouldn't even want to imagine (grinding poverty, abuse, molestation, etc.) who step a little out of line (especially with drugs, America's favorite excuse to lock up people) and end up with the system coming down on them like a load of bricks.  So I don't think we need more discipline, I think we need more intelligent discipline.  I don't think skin color should be consciously considered.  I think other circumstances specific to a child should be considered.  And I do wonder to what extent socioeconomic class is a confounding variable here.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 10:11:38 PM »
It's to keep the populace locked down, man.  Bound by the shackles of conformity so when the lizard people and their puppet UN rise to form a one world government we'll all be brainwashed sheep.  Fight the power.

I want scientific sources on the existence of those lizard people. :P

I'm here to chew ass and kick bubblegum, and I'm all out of ass...

Wait...

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 10:45:29 PM »
I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in keeping the school-to-prison pipeline open wide.

Really? You went there? Honestly? The one time I was suspended for fighting was with a kid of a different ethnicity. I was defending myself..the reason I got a week as well? Because it was a zero tolerance rule.


Offline Neysha

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 10:49:47 PM »
Yes private prisons are a problem,  as is the incarceration rate... what was the topic we were discussing again?

Offline IStateYourName

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 11:04:59 PM »
Yes private prisons are a problem,  as is the incarceration rate... what was the topic we were discussing again?

Discipline in schools.  I brought up the prison issue because I believe it is an ulterior motive behind discipline policy in some schools.

Offline Neysha

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2014, 11:14:06 PM »
Discipline in schools.  I brought up the prison issue because I believe it is an ulterior motive behind discipline policy in some schools.

Sounds teneous even if there is, so much so I fail to see relevance of bringing it up,  especially at such an early juncture in the discussion.

Just IMHO though...

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2014, 11:53:42 PM »
Sounds teneous even if there is, so much so I fail to see relevance of bringing it up,  especially at such an early juncture in the discussion.

Just IMHO though...

I think he is implying that the sinister corporate overlords who control our government and education system (and who may or may not be lizard people) deliberately apply harsh punishment in schools to 'farm' children for later sale to the prison industries that they also hold secret dominion over. This is both profitable and pointlessly amoral, and so more likely (and less profitable) than actually educating said children to prepare them for lives in the corporate grind machine of gainful employment (also controlled by said overlords).

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 12:00:19 AM »
Discipline in schools.  I brought up the prison issue because I believe it is an ulterior motive behind discipline policy in some schools.


"You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline."

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OT: yes it's really dodgy to push somebody's belonging to one or another race (or ethnicity) ahead of equality before the law. That really sucks, not least in a heavily mixed environment which is exactly where it would apply in this case. I've noticed before that equal and non-preferential treatment by the law is not seen as sexy, it matters a lot more to some people that the law (or its normal outcome) give a good seat for their own group.


Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 12:04:59 AM »
Well, if you guys are interested in hearing the perspective of someone who supports this DOJ recommendation, here's a good one with many statistics included:

http://billmoyers.com/2014/01/09/doj-to-schools-stop-sending-kids-to-jail-for-breaking-the-rules/

Some significant quotes from the article:

"Those who have police contact early in life are more likely to commit crimes later."
"More than half of youths are detained for offenses that do not threaten public safety."

I'm still not buying it though - since how does under-reporting crime prevent/deter their future behavior?

Offline IStateYourName

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2014, 12:11:26 AM »
I think he is implying that the sinister corporate overlords who control our government and education system (and who may or may not be lizard people) deliberately apply harsh punishment in schools to 'farm' children for later sale to the prison industries that they also hold secret dominion over. This is both profitable and pointlessly amoral, and so more likely (and less profitable) than actually educating said children to prepare them for lives in the corporate grind machine of gainful employment (also controlled by said overlords).

Meh.  Insofar as I know, this judge was human, not a "lizard person."  While this was an egregious example, I think it's safe to also call it the tip of the iceberg.

Not that it was my intention to derail the thread.  It's just, whenever a discussion of racial and class-related issues arises, there's almost always the conservative voices that decry "reverse racism" and rant about how easy we go on kids of color.  I brought up this issue to head that off at the pass.  We don't go easy on kids, especially kids of color.

Offline Neysha

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2014, 12:12:02 AM »
Well by eschewing zero tolerance,  we could have a range of punishments from detention, suspension, transfer to special schools or programs, expulsion and other mild, moderate and severe actions depending on situation. I don't think the reporting in itself is a problem with correcting behavior. That's an issue for the number crunchers to deal with. Getting the police involved is simply using a blunt instrument when precision is often required.

I think he is implying that the sinister corporate overlords who control our government and education system (and who may or may not be lizard people) deliberately apply harsh punishment in schools to 'farm' children for later sale to the prison industries that they also hold secret dominion over. This is both profitable and pointlessly amoral, and so more likely (and less profitable) than actually educating said children to prepare them for lives in the corporate grind machine of gainful employment (also controlled by said overlords).

The satire your engaging in is quite subtle but I will admit, with all due respect,  when I read an ISYN post,  I hear the Debbie Downer musical bit (wah wah) in my mind. ;)

Offline Oniya

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Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2014, 12:21:56 AM »
I'm still not buying it though - since how does under-reporting crime prevent/deter their future behavior?

From recent personal experience - it doesn't.  It's why I have the little Oni on notice to speak up if someone is harassing her.  And it's worse if the student is given a reason to think that their race/economic status/athletic ability gives them the 'right' to do what they want.  Zero tolerance should be reserved for worst-case scenarios, though.  Things that do threaten public safety.  There should always be some investigation of 'what happened here'.

Person A is seen striking Person B.  Person A later shows up at the school nurse with a broken finger.  With no further investigation, both students are suspended for fighting.  With investigation, it is revealed that Person A struck Person B squarely on a heavy belt buckle, and Person B never retaliated.  Person A gets suspended for fighting and Person B is allowed to return to class.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: DOJ: Zero-Tolerance Policies and Racial Bias
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2014, 02:18:21 AM »
From recent personal experience - it doesn't.  It's why I have the little Oni on notice to speak up if someone is harassing her.  And it's worse if the student is given a reason to think that their race/economic status/athletic ability gives them the 'right' to do what they want.  Zero tolerance should be reserved for worst-case scenarios, though.  Things that do threaten public safety.  There should always be some investigation of 'what happened here'.

Person A is seen striking Person B.  Person A later shows up at the school nurse with a broken finger.  With no further investigation, both students are suspended for fighting.  With investigation, it is revealed that Person A struck Person B squarely on a heavy belt buckle, and Person B never retaliated.  Person A gets suspended for fighting and Person B is allowed to return to class.

That sounds good to me.  I'm not saying we should let everything slide.  I just think in recent years there's been too much of a tendency for law enforcement to be involved in matters which really don't require police involvement.  A student out of dress code or who commits a minor act of vandalism doesn't need to be Tasered, arrested, and carted off to juvenile hall to be warehoused for a set amount of time.  This doesn't mean there shouldn't be consequences, just that said consequences should fit the offense.  If a bully beats a victim badly enough that medical attention is needed, then yes, I think it's appropriate for a case to be filed, and for the bully to be sent to school in a much more structured environment, possibly boot camp.

However, I think we need to end private prisons and eliminate any financial incentive for kids to be placed into the criminal justice system.  That's what gets me, the warehousing of young people.  Kids are going to screw up.  They're going to push boundaries.  And we (the adults) need to push back and provide structure, but constructively.  Not cast them into a dungeon somewhere and expect they'll fix themselves and come out better.