Why Suspending Criminal Blacks from School is Not Racism

by Lewis Loflin

The New York Times sinks to a new low in it's efforts to portray self-inflicted black failure as somehow being white racism. In their article School Suspensions Lead to Legal Challenge by Erik Eckholm, they make the accusation that the disparity in suspension rates for black and white students is racism.

He does this by distorting the facts in a school suspension case in North Carolina, then parades a collection of far-left education experts to support his cause. Again we have another case of anti-white racism in the guise of journalism.

Here I will explore several facets of this issue in the hope reason and truth will prevail. Facts are not racism, but hiding those facts under a cloud of racism accusations and political correctness does nobody any good.

The outcome of black and other failure prone minority communities is due directly to their irresponsible behavior compounded by lack of economic opportunity and liberal white culture promoting destructive values.

It must be up to them to address those problems and stop this "I'm a victim" mentality. Poor whites outnumber poor blacks by three to one, yet in Virginia almost two-thirds of the crime is committed by the 20% of the population that is black.

Note: they don't release crime rates by race in North Carolina, or at least I can't find it.

The claims of Eckholm is "At issue is the routine use of suspensions not just for weapons or drugs but also for profanity, defiant behavior, pushing matches and other acts that used to be handled with a visit to the principal's office or detention. Such lesser violations now account for most of the 3.3 million annual suspensions of public school students. That total includes a sharp racial imbalance: poor black students are suspended at three times the rate of whites, a disparity not fully explained by differences in income or behavior."

The 'Fistfight'

To quote Eckholm:
As school let out one day in January 2008, students from rival towns faced off. Two girls flailed away for several seconds and clusters of boys pummeled each other until teachers pulled them apart.

The fistfights at Southside High School involved no weapons and no serious injuries, and in some ways seemed as old-fashioned as the country roads here in eastern North Carolina. But the punishment was strictly up-to-date: Sheriff's deputies handcuffed and briefly arrested a dozen students. The school suspended seven of them for a short period and six others from the melee, including the two girls, for the entire semester.

As extra punishment, the girls were told they could not attend Beaufort County's alternative school for troubled students and were denied aid to study at home.

That is not exactly correct and this was not "old-fashioned" anything. The local Washington Dailey News (www.wdnweb.com) had a completely differing view of the events January 18, 2008:

At around noon Friday, two female Southside High School students started fighting in a common area on the school's campus. After the two students refused to stop the fight, (Deputy) Zerniak stunned both with a Taser. Several other fights then broke out, according to accounts from sheriff's office deputies and the school system. Approximately 400 students were in and around the common area when the incident occurred.

The sheriff's office dispatched several deputies to the scene. Eight students from ages 16 to 18 were arrested by the sheriff's office and charged with disorderly conduct for actions related to the fights. Four juvenile students under age 16 will be charged with disorderly conduct in juvenile court, according to the sheriff's office. Additional charges may be brought against the students.

It was only the quick intervention by police that prevented a full-blown riot between two opposing high schools that could lead to serious injury to others. These were not little babies, but in reality adults and I'll bet more than one has a record or has been in trouble before.

All of those involved in this fighting I assume are black. Earlier that day local police disarmed a 15-year-old eight grader of his 9mm handgun loaded with 15 rounds on school grounds. (The cases are unrelated.) Would anyone like to guess his race?

All this in just one day in Beaufort County, North Carolina a mostly rural community of about 45,000. The county is 68.44% White, 29.03% Black. The per capita income for the county was $16,722. About 15.20% of families and 19.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.60% of those under age 18 and 19.30% of those age 65 or over. (Wiki)

Eckholm is critical of the get-tough, "zero tolerance" discipline policies that causes "suspensions that are disproportionate among black students." He ignored the fact the students were guilty and even the students own parents (Washington Dailey News) admitted these kids are guilty, but all play the race card anyway.

Playing the Race Card

As Eckholm laments, "whether banishing children from schools really makes them safer or serves the community well is increasingly questioned by social scientists and educators. And now the punishment is before the courts in what has become a stark legal test of the approach. Lawyers for the girls - who are black - say that denying them a semester's schooling was an unjustified violation of their constitutional right to an education."

First there is no "right" to an education, but we do have a right to public safety. These two girls were so violent and out of control they had to be tasered to break them up. Viktoria King and Jessica Hardy, both sophomores, had been classified among the 'most egregious' violators by their principal and the board wasn't getting involved.

Both are the usual self-inflicted black losers. Jessica Hardy has since popped a baby probably out of wedlock while another "suspended boy dropped out and has been arrested on theft charges." Viktoria King was written up as an honor student and poor baby forced mamma to hire a home tutor. To quote Viktoria, "The suspension put me behind a lot. I couldn't take honors and A.P. classes, and had to repeat a math class." Let's see them release her grades to the public.

On March 8, the Obama education secretary Arne Duncan adds his racist 2-cents and mumbles something about, "schools that seem to suspend and discipline only young African-American boys" while he vows to fight to "ensure racial equality in schooling."

There's no evidence blacks were denied anything any white student got. Just because they failed is not a sign of racism, but lack of ability or just plain laziness. Again the tacit accusation of white racism is behind the fact these students act like animals and the schools have to take measures to protect other students, in particular minority students, that are often the victims of minority violence.

What about this Arne Duncan, a self-hating white Progressive whose only fame is playing basketball with President Obama? According to the New York Times he spent seven years overseeing the Chicago school system, one of the most violent and lowest performing school systems in America. He like Obama would never send his kids to a Chicago public school.

This is the same school system where black honor student Darrion Albert was murdered by black savages involved in another little "fistfight" when they smashed him in the head with a wooden tie. That same year about 40 minority kids died at the hands of fellow minorities in and around Chicago public schools. White racism has nothing to do with this, but their own animal behavior Progressive racists refuse to address.

(AP 10-7-2009) Secretary Duncan was also interviewed by Anderson Cooper on the cable news channel CNN regarding violence in Chicago. the story made it to the New York Times (10/28/2009) and according to them "34 public school students were killed last school year...(and)...At least 290 students were injured last year in shootings..." No whites were involved.

This same system has a minority dropout rate of over 50% and even half those that do graduate are functional illiterates. Yet whites and Asians succeed in the same schools while blacks/Hispanics fail in large numbers. Yet to quote Eckholm, "A growing body of research, scholars say, suggests that heavy use of suspensions does less to pacify schools than to push already troubled students toward academic failure and dropping out - and sometimes into what critics have called the 'school-to-prison pipeline.'" Tell that to Darrion Albert.

Yet Progressives still play the race card: "These students were treated like criminals and abandoned by the school system for doing something that students have done forever - fighting in the schoolyard," said Erwin Byrd, a lawyer with Legal Aid of North Carolina, which brought the suit with lawyers from the Duke University School of Law. The school district says it must retain discretion over punishments.

Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators says, "If our primary obligation is to educate kids, then to punish them by excluding them doesn't make sense." This is from an organization that touts educating "the whole student" while flying junkets to Cuba to learn from their wonderful schools where AASA admits computers are rare.

Randi Weingarten, president of the discredited American Federation of Teachers also attacks strict punishment that would have saved the life of victims like Darrion Albert. She says, "Lots of schools don't provide the panoply of services we think are important - prevention and intervention strategies and alternative placements for disruptive students." Yet this is from an organization that directly oversees the massive school failure in those systems like Chicago they control with a leftist iron fist.

The following editorial from the Washington Dailey News Paying the price January 31, 2008 is spot on:

Parents of some of the students given long-term suspensions for participating in a fight at Southside High School on Jan. 18 want their children's punishments modified so they can continue their education and either be promoted to the next grade level or graduate.

It's understandable these parents want their children to continue their education. They may consider the punishments too severe. It's also understandable that other parents may want the students who participated in the big brawl to be removed from the school to protect their children. They may consider the punishments to be too lenient, but 12 students were either arrested or had juvenile petitions filed against them.

Students who participated in the fight must be held accountable for their actions, even if that accountability means they are suspended from school through the remainder of the school year. Students who did not take part in the fight deserve to be educated in an environment that's as safe as possible. Suspending the students who chose to become involved in the fight, whether the suspensions are long-term or short-term ones, is proper punishment.

The parents seeking lesser punishments for their children have said they don't condone their children participating, and in some cases initiating, the fight. That's a good message to send. But is that message being tainted by the parents' requests for the school system to modify the punishments? Are those requests sending a message to the students who are being punished for fighting that they should suffer nothing more than a slap on their wrists?

At least one parent of a student being punished for fighting suggested the school system allow some of the suspended students to attend classes on Saturday.

Why should Beaufort County taxpayers foot the bill for opening a school on a Saturday so suspended students can continue their education? The taxpayers are not responsible for that fight; the students who chose to fight are responsible for the brawl. The school system should not do anything to accommodate students who are being punished if that accommodation will cost the taxpayers.

Those who chose to fight should pay for their actions, not anyone else.

Simply put, students who fight and violate the rules should be punished. Those students should have thought about what would happen to them by choosing to participate in the fight. It comes down to accountability.

Parents must hold their children accountable for their actions. The school system must hold its students accountable for their actions. The community must hold the students, parents and school system accountable for their actions.

If the school system would provide information about the fight, it may be easier for parents and the community to understand why the fight erupted and identify things to do to prevent similar fights from occurring.

Although there are privacy issues when it comes to individual students involved in the fight, there is information the school system can and should release to help the community better understand what happened that day. If there are underlying conflicts that resulted in the fight, the community needs to know them so it can address those conflicts.

Perhaps long-term suspensions that result in students either not being promoted to the next grade level or graduating from high school will serve as lessons these students must learn. If you break the rules, there are consequences to pay. If you break the rules, you are responsible.

The school board should review the punishments handed out to students involved in the fight. If any changes to those punishments deserve to be made, let those changes be made based on the facts of the case, not emotional pleas of parents.

Lessening the punishments of students who deserve to be punished would be an injustice to students who abide by the rules and deserve a safe environment in which to learn.

It's a good thing no one was killed or seriously injured as a result of the fight. If that were the case, some students may be facing tougher punishments than suspensions.

For those who choose to fight in school, there's a price to pay. They should pay the full price. If students who fight are not punished, the community ends up paying the price.

The Source of Self-Inflicted Black Failure is Their Own Community

The crux of the Progressive argument is more massive spending and personal intervention for each and every black/Hispanic thug that has no interest in education and desire only to tear the system apart. The professional education idiots keep divorcing failure from personal behavior/choice and instead scream white racism at every opportunity.

The problem is minority self-inflicted failure and personal tendencies towards crime and lawlessness. At the 2008 NIJ Conference, David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, talked about his work to combat drug markets, especially the High Point Intervention, an innovative program that is now being replicated in at least 25 sites around the country.

The following is extracts from "Drugs, Race and Common Ground: Reflections on the High Point (North Carolina) Intervention".

Hard Talk: A Conversation About Race: Open-air drug markets are found primarily in our cities and in African-American neighborhoods. Although we are loathe to admit it, this issue is soaked in race...the (black) community believed that:

  • The police are part of a conspiracy to destroy the community.
  • The CIA invented crack, and the government brings the drugs into the country.
  • The government passed "three strikes" laws to put all our children in prison for the rest of their lives.
These views are no more true than the views held by the police. There is no conspiracy; rather, the tragedy we are watching unfold is more akin to a train wreck. But, again, I absolutely understand why the community believes it (usual excuses)...Today the community (only) sees relentless drug enforcement: People are stopped on the street. Their doors are kicked in. They are taken from their families and sent to prison at enormously high rates; and they come back with criminal records, unable to get a legitimate job.

Today, one in three black men in this country will go to prison. In some communities, the majority of young black men end up with criminal records. In Baltimore, Md., for example, half of the African-American males between the ages of 20 and 30 are under court supervision- they are in prison, in jail, on parole or on probation. This is not about bias, profiling, abuse or any other way we usually talk about criminal justice problems. I work in these communities. The crime is real, and overwhelmingly the arrests are legitimate. But we are destroying the village in order to save it.

And none of this gets rid of the crime. The drug markets and violence continue to exist. The relentless enforcement continues. Much of the community believes this is, in fact, the goal of drug enforcement: to put their young men in prison. This is the main reason for the community silence. It does not stem from complicity, support or tolerance. But if standing against drug crime means standing with an "enemy," (the white police) people will not do it...

Conclusion

There is no proof blacks are suspended in higher numbers than whites due to racism. The fact of higher suspension rates is due to the conduct of blacks and the attitudes of the black community. Yet innocent blacks are often the primary victims of black crime, so not dealing with black criminals in their own community puts them all at higher risk. Yet dealing with black crime by whites brings on charges of racism. There's just no way to win.

Now those calling for special schools and classes separate from the rest of the system know very well those classes will be disproportionately black. That will bring more cries of racism and segregation from the very same people demanding those classes.

There is no hope for any solution to self-inflicted black failure unless we end political correctness and face facts. Facts are not racism and blaming whites for problems they do not cause and calling them racists is nonsense. The real racists are the self-hating white Progressives/Leftists that use these issues to promote their own political agenda.

More on Black Youth Crime

When we examine homicide arrest rates by race and age, the largest disparities exist between whites and nonwhites in the youngest age groups -with rates for nonwhites exceeding those for whites. As age increases, the disparities between whites and nonwhites decline for homicide arrest rates.

Homicide rates have tended to increase for persons under 29, both for victims and perpetrators. This trend is especially clear for persons 15 to 19, whose homicide offending and victimization rates rose about 2.5 times between 1988 and 1995 in North Carolina. In contrast, the homicide offender rates and victimization rates for persons 30 and over have declined in the past decade.

Quality of Life in North Carolina -Editor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
NC State University
Box 8107
Raleigh, NC 27695-8107



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