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What wasn’t written in Kathy Kersten’s latest article on Minnesota education is that the principles of implicit bias and restorative justice are destroying what’s left of education in Minnesota.

First, the article talks about how “MDHR also announced the filing of ‘charges’ of ‘educational discrimination’ against the St. Louis Park School District and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District. Apparently, these two districts declined sufficiently to bend to the department’s will, though a St. Louis Park school official told MinnPost that the district is, in fact, ‘seeking to enter into an agreement’ with the department.”

What’s particularly frightening is the fact that school districts that don’t heed the MDHR’s threats are faced “with a choice: enter into an agreement with the department to come up with a plan to address [discipline] disparities, or face litigation.” In other words, do it our way or we’ll destroy you with expensive litigation. The DFL hasn’t explained how that isn’t oppressive. The DFL hasn’t explained why these threats of intimidation and financial ruin aren’t based on official complaints instead of statistical disparities.

For districts and charters that have chosen to enter into a collaborative agreement with the Department, all have submitted three-year plans that outline the specific strategies they’ll be implementing. These strategies include a broad range of things like professional development trainings to help educators address the “implicit bias that influences perceptions of student behavior” and ways to increase student and community engagement.

This is insane. How can you fight something that exists only in the minds of the most whacked-out liberals? Let’s see if you can spot the flawed thinking in the opening paragraph of this article:

Ten Minnesota school districts and charter schools have reached a pact with the state Department of Human Rights to fix racial disparities in student discipline.

I’m betting everyone reading that noticed the flawed thinking that deals with discipline disparities, not behavioral disparities. Next, notice Commissioner Lindsey’s statement:

“I’m encouraged. There was some good ideas that came out of the conversations with the school districts and charter schools. They are going to drive change and we will see positive results in Minnesota because of their efforts.”

Next, check out this sentence:

State leaders say the discipline disparities amount to human rights violations.

Commissioner Lindsey didn’t define what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Until that’s defined, his declarations are subjective. Next, check out this video on implicit bias:

How many people think that “for like 75% of white Americans, it’s hard to put black and good together”? I don’t buy that for a split-second. I know that’s a phony ‘statistic.’ This isn’t the way to achieve justice. FYI- the definition of justice is “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.” Righteousness isn’t situation-based. It’s defined by the Word of God, who is never-changing.

Just like other progressive social experiments, restorative justice and implicit bias will fail. The only question left is how much society will be harmed.

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Written by Rambling Rose

The adage “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is not Biblical, nor does it have to be interpreted as a call for corporal punishment. But current discipline policies that provide no accountability may be just as bad or worse.

Public outrage is graphic and loud after events such as the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida in mid-February. Indignation was expressed after the previous massacres but not to the extent of the nationwide protests by teachers and students, politicians and activists…many who marched without knowing the reason for the manifestation because they were too young. Yet they marched because their teachers/parents told them to do so. This week, central Minnesotans are asking at what age should children be deemed to have attained the age of accountability for violent actions.

But the hype and media coverage do not always reveal the whole truth. Fortunately, not all are willing to take news coverage at face value. RealClearInvestigations (RCI) is the investigative arm of RealClearPolitics. Their publication on April 15th reveals that there is more to the story—WHY the officers did not enter the school during the shooting—WHY the perpetrator knew the school and its policies—WHY he had little to fear with a firearm in a gun-free zone, etc.

After the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many learned of PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education). It is far more than a program to keep students in school for minor infractions. The truth is very disturbing.

The program was adopted by the Broward Schools in 2013 with a strong push from Superintendent Robert Runcie. Prior to that, Runcie had worked in Chicago for Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education…the plot thickens.
“That new discipline policy took effect in 2013. It was at the vanguard of the Obama administration’s efforts to address the “school to prison” pipeline. Beginning in 2009, it opened hundreds of investigations or sued to force districts to adopt lenient discipline guidelines. This push was formalized in a 2014 “Dear Colleague” letter to the nation’s public school superintendents and board members that not only discourages student arrests, but holds districts liable for the actions of school resource officers.”

“After meeting with Obama officials in the White House, Runcie persuaded the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Lauderdale Police Department to agree to stop arresting students who committed misdemeanor crimes the district deemed “nonviolent” – including assault, theft, vandalism, drugs and public fighting. Runcie argued that diverting minor offenders from jail to ‘restorative justice’ counseling and other positive behavioral interventions would help close the academic “achievement gap” by disrupting the flow of black students into the so-called ‘schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline.’ Though African-Americans made up about 40 percent of the Broward student body, they accounted for more than 70 percent of juvenile arrests in the county.'”

This sounds very similar to the local news about a week ago. District 742 and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights are dealing with issues related to restorative justice policies, the demographics of the student population and the demographics of those named as offenders in efforts to eliminate the disparity in suspensions and expulsions. By looking at data and not specific reports about offenses, it was decided that the racial percentages of the student body and the violators should be equal. Who determined that there is a direct correlation between the racial makeup of a community and the number of violations committed? Is that a reasonable expectation in schools or in society? Is there a direct correlation between the ethnic/racial demographics in society and that of the incarcerated?

Accountability does seem any longer to be addressed by discipline policies in many schools. The explanation comes again from Florida:

“Thousands of arrested Broward students have had their records deleted in the system as part of a program to end ‘disproportionate minority contact’ with law enforcement, blindfolding both street cops and school resource officers to the criminal history of potential juvenile threats.”

So deleting disciplinary records is a way to make the numbers balance, right? No, wrong. What is restorative justice? How has restorative justice worked for Broward county?

“In a related program, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also agreed to back off arrests of students who commit such crimes outside of schools, offering them civil citations and the same restorative justice counseling instead of incarceration, even for repeat offenders. Restorative justice is a controversial alternative punishment in which delinquents gather in ‘healing circles’ with counselors – and sometimes even the victims of their crime – and discuss their feelings and the ‘root causes’ of their anger and actions.” In Broward County, the juvenile recidivism rate grew much faster than the rate for the entire state. Is that a measure of success?

The level of violence has risen in the schools and spread to the community. The community is uneasy. According to the County’s chief juvenile probation officer, Broward County now boasts the highest percentage of “serious, violent [and] chronic juvenile delinquents in the state. Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.”

Prosecutors and probation officers lament the number of violent crimes involving Broward youths has risen dramatically while juvenile arrests overall have dropped. “Juvenile arrests for murder and manslaughter increased 150 percent between 2013 and 2016. They increased by another 50 percent in 2017. County juveniles were responsible for a total of 16 murders or manslaughters in the past two years alone, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.”

“Last year, the number of Broward juveniles collared for armed robbery totaled 92, up 46 percent from 2013, department data show. Arrests for auto thefts jumped 170 percent between 2013 and 2017 – from 105 to 284. Juveniles charged with kidnapping, moreover, surged 157 percent in 2016 and another 43 percent last year.”

The evidence indicts the leniency policy of restorative justice, whatever the name. Max Eden, education policy expert and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, declared that the no-arrest policies have emboldened crimes by Broward youth. The infractions became steadily more violent regardless of race. He noted that the crimes committed become more violent when petty crimes are not punished.

Tracy Clark, Chief Public Information Officer of the Broward schools, denied that district policies have weakened safety. The administrators have refused to provide any documents to support those claims. However, the parents whose children have been bullied and beaten do not agree. Those victims were bullied and beaten repeatedly by fellow students who suffered few or no consequences for those actions. Lowell Levine, whose Stop Bullying Now Foundation is in Lake Worth, Florida, has collected dozens of complaints from those parents. When he contacted Runcie’s office about the complaints of school violence in 2015, the superintendent rejected outside advice, claiming that he had the situation under control.

Under control? “After Broward schools began emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration, fights broke out virtually every day in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias and campuses across the district. Last year, more than 3,000 fights erupted in the district’s 300-plus schools, including the altercations involving Cruz. No brawlers were arrested, even after their third fight, and even if they sent other children to the hospital.”

In 2017, even without cooperation from the Broward county schools, federal data reveal that nearly half of the Broward middle school students were involved in fights, many requiring medical attention. Parents are aware; parents are contacting school administrators; parents are not being heard. One of the teachers in one of the Broward schools explained why when fights are more frequent and more violent but not reported with these words, “because of politics.” What a sad commentary on those schools, on today’s culture.

News media sources seem to suggest that male students are the aggressive ones. Females are also offenders:

“In a December 2016 fight caught on video at Plantation High School, several girls beat and dragged another girl to the ground and took turns kicking her. Campus police did not break up the fight and the girls who jumped her were not arrested. The attacked girl’s mother said the school failed to stop bullying before it escalated into violence, and then swept the incident under the rug. Three other fights reportedly broke out the same day at the school.”

Such attacks by females do not occur only in Florida. A similar event was shared with me by a family member of the victim at a school in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There was no video to capture the attack. The victim was thrown to the ground and kicked by the others. She had a hall pass; the attackers reportedly did not. The victim reported the incident to the school’s administrator but did not know the names of her attackers. When the offenders approached the principal with their version of the story, there was no discipline measured out for them. However, the victim was suspended for an extended period of time. Yes, the victim was white. The attackers were not.

In Broward schools, the perpetrators participate in the PROMISE program but are not held accountable and no records are kept. They are restored. One wonders if the attackers in the St. Cloud school participated in restorative justice or was it just ignored?

Other shootings were avoided prior to the February 14th shooting by observant students who were brave enough to report them to security, and security intervened. There are other reports of physical attacks to teachers for trying to maintain discipline within the classroom. No arrests were made. No entries were made in the attackers’ school records. They suffered no consequences. Recall the words of Max Eden cited above. The lax policies have “emboldened” the unpunished perpetrators to escalate the violence of their continuing crimes.

Maria Schneider, Broward juvenile prosecutor, signed the original PROMISE agreement but warned a few months later that a failure to arrest and prosecute the delinquent students could have undesired consequences of “making the schools a more dangerous place.” While administrators were worried about criminal records “stigmatizing” minority students, the prosecutor retorted that “There has to be accountability for bad behavior.” At a recent Juvenile Justice Circuit Advisory Board meeting, the prosecutor reported that “the actual police reports are being destroyed.” There appears to be no accountability for bad actions at any level in Broward county.

Even though the schools discontinued a 21-year-old practice of surveying the students about their school climate and safety, federal data revealed “a deterioration in safety indicators after the discipline reforms were adopted.”

Sadly, PROMISE and the Behavior Intervention Programs have not achieved their core objectives of “closing the racial disparity in suspensions, expulsions and arrests between black students and white students.” Since 2013, despite the aggressive implementation of restorative justice policies and the destruction of official police reports, as noted by Schneider, internal school district reports show that black students are suspended more than white students. In 2013, the disparity was 2.3 times greater for black students, and last year, after the implementation of the race-based discipline reforms, the rate was 3.4 times more frequent for the targeted group.

“The PROMISE and Behavior Intervention Programs have not accomplished the core objectives they were created to achieve in 2013 – closing the racial disparity in suspensions, expulsions and arrests between black students and white students. That gap is now wider than ever, in spite of a “very aggressive” Broward system goal of decreasing the black arrest rate by 5 percent each year and 33 percent overall.”

Rather than re-examining the effectiveness of the program, the teachers and administrators are being compelled to participate in training programs to examine their “whiteness” and eliminate their “implicit biases.” (This seems strangely similar to the “White Privilege” training forced upon some educators in central Minnesota.)

Or as reported by RCI, “…instead of blaming these students for committing a higher rate of infractions, Runcie and his team are putting teachers and principals on the spot for harboring deep-seated prejudices that lead them to “subconsciously” mete out harsher punishments for them.”

Efforts are underway to extend this training to local police officers as well.

This adage is Biblical. From Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

What training does society owe its young people? Do we teach, through modeling and policies, that there is accountability for bad decisions/actions? Or, do we perpetuate the racial divide and allow a “free pass” for special groups and sensitivity training for others?