A new California law that takes effect in 2020 will make it illegal to suspend a student in grades 1-5 for disobeying teachers or administrators. Starting next year, the rule will be applied to students in grades 6-8 and will include charter schools.
There’s a very good reason for this change, according to supporters. It’s because of racism, you see. More little black kids are punished for disobeying teachers than little white kids. Naturally, there’s only one possible explanation, to the exclusion of all others.
Whitey has it in for black children.
Yes, a study by San Diego State and UCLA called “Get Out! Black Male Suspensions in California Public Schools,” found that “the statewide suspension rate for Black males is 3.6 times greater than that of the statewide rate for all students.”
Aside from the very scholarly name of the study, this is apparently not a rule that targets “people of color” since Asian kids and Hispanic kids don’t have as many problems with authority.
What’s the alternative to dealing with a disruptive child?
Educators like Jessie Ryan, president of the Sacramento City School Board, believe there is a better way to discipline students. It’s called restorative justice.
“The wonderful thing about restorative justice is that students quite often are given a minute to reset and be mindful of their actions,” Ryan said. “There is an opportunity to calm the classroom. It’s not just taking a route where you’re going directly from 0 to 100 by suspending a student, which we know doesn’t work.”
So we should be telling a 9-year-old kid (going on 21) to take a minute and think about what he’s doing. This will give the teacher an opportunity to “calm the classroom,” which you can’t do because no one will get suspended for giving the teacher the finger. Presumably, after thinking about it, a light bulb will go off over the kid’s head and he will immediately become docile and apologize for his “willful defiance.”
Voila! “Restorative Justice!”
Naturally, there are those with a little perspective and a lot more knowledge of kids than many California educators.
Marcia Greenlaw, a parent of two students, said, “Sometimes children do need to be suspended from school. Sometimes they need a time out, maybe from school, other kids.”
Olivia Aragon, a school grandparent, said, “There should be something to discipline the kids because some kids are out of control.”
Aragon added she had some reservations about suspensions, but, “At the same time, they are missing school.”
It’s not permitted to bring up racist subjects like cultural differences leading to a lack of respect for authority by some students of a certain color, so I won’t even mention it.
Presumably, kids can still be suspended for committing violence against teachers and other students. Or perhaps we should really give “restorative justice” a chance and try to work it out.
If the teacher is still in one piece.