January 10, 2014
The Department of Justice wants schools to directly consider race when disciplining students, taking care to ensure that some races are not punished more often than others, even if students of certain races misbehave more often.
Eric Holder’s DOJ co-wrote the letter with the Department of Education, and sent it to public schools across the country yesterday. First among its decrees: Schools should not strive to treat all races the same; rather, they should treat the races differently, levying weaker punishments when necessary, in order to effect equal outcomes among students of all races.
The problem? Not all races are equally likely to misbehave at school. Boys, for instance, get into trouble much more frequently than girls. And black, Hispanic and Native American children — who are far more likely to grow up in single-parent households — have higher misbehavior rates than white and Asian students, according to Roger Clegg of National Review.
But the DOJ’s recent guidelines instruct schools to discipline racial groups equally. In practice, this would mean either punishing certain kids more harshly because they fall into a better-behaved racial category, or opting not to punish students who happen to be black, Hispanic or Native American.
This philosophy, known as “disparate impact,” will harm well-behaved students, according to Clegg.