Feds will monitor suspensions for racial bias

Federal officials will monitor 38 Oakland schools charged with suspending too many black male students, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Almost 20 percent of the district’s African American males were suspended at least once last year, six times the rate of white boys.

In middle school, 1 out of every 3 black boys was suspended at least once.

The board approved a five-year plan that includes mentoring, teacher training, parent education and programs to address the impact of trauma and community violence on student behavior. In addition, the plan calls for “restorative justice” as an alternative to suspension. Students, parents and school officials meet to encourage  “the offender taking responsibility and making amends.”

The district already has an Office of African-American Male Achievement, which has created programs such as a daily after-school “manhood development” class at Edna Brewer Middle School for 24 black males.

As the boys built drums out of wood and tape, their instructor, who goes only by Jahi, described the benefit of working with the boys, giving them help with their homework and encouragement to focus on school and their futures.

“We try to create this culture of success,” he said. “We can’t change what’s happening outside in the world.”

Eighth-grader William Bolanos, 13, said he’d had some trouble in the past at school, with a few suspensions on his record.

But that won’t happen this year, with help from Jahi’s class.

“It just shows you how to be a man, a leader, a big brother to people,” he said. “I’m just going to try to get honor roll this year.”

Brewer Middle, a relatively high-scoring school, is 34 percent Asian, 31 percent black, 16 percent Latino and 13 percent white. And, no, the district doesn’t have a special office for any other racial or ethnic group.

Implementing the plan — including  “comprehensive and frequent documentation to prove compliance with the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964” — will cost the district “millions,” according to the Chronicle.

About Joanne


  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    If the program works in “getting the offender to take responsibility and make amends,” if it works to “create a culture of success,” if it works in getting adolescent males to “be a man, a leader, a big brother to people,” then it will be worth the millions. Black males are doing terribly. It is a big, big problem that nobody wants to talk about.

    If it turns into a “don’t blame yourself, you’re a victim’ program, it will, however, make things worse.

  2. Bostonian says:

    One reason white and Asian parents are reluctant to send their children to majority black schools is the fear that classrooms will be chaotic and that their children will be beat up. Racial quotas on school discipline that force schools to ignore misbehavior by black students will increase white and Asian flight from “diverse” schools.

    • Given the career and social suicide involved in admitting the true cause of the problem, repeating the failures of the past is the only option left.

      Perhaps parents and students could get louder about attacks and misbehavior by the blacks, like the strike by the Asian students in Philadelphia not long ago.  If the Department of “Justice” had to weigh suspension and expulsion rates against the frequency and severity of offending behaviors, the problem would disappear.  But until that’s done, there’s almost nothing that’s less fair than the equal treatment of unequal things.

  3. Isn’t it kind of racist to say, “black boys can’t make it without special help”? It seems to me that this kind of tomfoolery has been tried many times, without noticeable success.

  4. cranberry says:

    According to Greatschools.org, Oakland Unified is 6% white, 13% Asian, 35% Black, and 37% Hispanic or Latino. I’d say white students have already fled.

  5. If you’re a teacher, get out of the Oakland K-12 schools, quick! Teachers are about to start getting beaten up / threatened, both at school and at home / stalked / and have their property destroyed (particularly their cars in the parking lots) at a phenomenal rate… Very, very sad.