holderIn new school discipline guidelines issued by two US Federal agencies, the Department Of Justice and Department Of Education, public schools in America are being asked to consider race instead of behaviour, when punishing students because they believe that existing zero-tolerance policies that are currently being used by schools are discriminating against black students. According to the Department Of Justice, 15% of the student population in the US is black and yet black students are three times more likely than white students to be suspended.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said that, ”Alarming numbers of young people are suspended , they are expelled, or even arrested for relatively minor transgressions like school uniforms violations, school yard fights, or showing what is called disrespect by laughing in class”
The discipline guidelines also want Principles and Teacher to discipline the student and not security guards and campus police, as is currently the case.
Victoria Middleton, who is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, welcomed the new guidelines. She said in a statement;
“The ACLU of South Carolina welcomes this new guidance, as the discriminatory impact of discipline policies in South Carolina, which fall hardest on children of color, has been well documented for some time. The ACLU of SC calls on South Carolina educators and officials to work to end the discriminatory discipline policies that still exist in our state (including zero tolerance laws like “disturbing schools” and corporal punishment)”.
However critics of the new recommendations are saying that the guidelines will lead to class disruption, chaos and mayhem.
Neal McCluskey, the associate director of Cato’s Centre for Educational Freedom voiced his concern, “If you no longer allow a principle to make the decision to discipline students based on behaviour, then that takes away power from the principle and its going lead to less discipline and probably more trouble in those schools”.

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