San Diego Unified’s Lopsided Suspensions Ratio

San Diego Unified’s Lopsided Suspensions Ratio

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Daniel Noriega, left, says he was suspended about two dozen times between the sixth and eighth grades.

This post has been updated.

When Daniel Noriega was in the elementary school he cussed at teachers, he refused to do his work and he was sent home. Again and again.

Between the sixth and eighth grades, Noriega, who’s now a sophomore at E3 Civic High, was suspended about two dozen times by his count. One teacher told him he’d land in jail before he reached middle school. Another said they were wasting money keeping him in their school.

With the help of an afterschool program that prepares students for college, Noriega eventually shaped up. In fact, he said he’s now “doing it big” with a 4.0 grade point average and is working toward getting into a four-year university.

Looking back, Noriega chalks it up to a need to be noticed. His parents worked a lot, he said. When he got in trouble, his mom got mad. But he had her attention.

Noriega was lucky, but many students don’t try to change course until it’s too late.

This much is clear: Kids can’t learn if they’re not in class. And when it comes to disciplinary practices that keep kids out of San Diego Unified, black and Latino students are losing the most.

In the 2011-2012 school year, San Diego Unified doled out 12,932 total suspensions, according to the California Department of Education. Latinos, like Noriega, made up 7,004 of those suspensions. Black students had the second highest total, at 3,051 suspensions.

 

Neither education experts nor practitioners argue that students shouldn’t be held accountable for misdeeds or disruptions. But here’s the catch: A huge chunk of suspensions aren’t handed out for extreme violence or drug possession, but for “willful defiance,” a catch-all term that can include anything from disrespectful behavior to forgetting to turn a cell phone off.

And in San Diego Unified, more Latino students were suspended for willful defiance than every other student subgroup combined.

The numbers show that Latinos make up 54 percent of the suspensions in the district. That’s notable — as they make up only 46 percent of the district — but not all together surprising, given the issues facing other districts.

But when we look at black students, the situation is more alarming. Black students make only 11 percent of the district, but count for 22 percent of all suspensions.

Compare that to white students, who make up 23 percent of  district students and only 5 percent of the suspensions.

Joe Fulcher, San Diego Unified’s chief student services officer, recognized that willful defiance is “kind of an open-ended category” but said that for now the district is still using it.

Fulcher said that San Diego Unified is in “the process of exploring” whether it’s smart to keep using willful defiance as a reason to suspend students in the future. “We plan to take a look at the numbers. If they look (disproportionate), then we’ll have to take a long look at this.”

Translation: The district does not have a specific plan for how and when it will revise its disciplinary policies – or whether it will at all.

In the 2011-2012 school year, almost half of the state’s suspensions were for willful defiance.

In June, KPBS reported that San Diego County schools varied widely on their disciplinary practices. For example, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista Unified and Fallbrook Union High School Districts used the category to justify between 50 and 55 percent of suspensions. Grossmont High School District, on the other hand, did not use willful defiance suspensions at all.

The American Civil Liberties Union called for schools to reconsider their approach to discipline in a 2010 report, in which it argued that students of color are disproportionately punished for defiance, disobedience and disrespect and overly punitive measures don’t necessarily make schools a safer place.

Dan Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, said that in response to tragedies like school shootings, the trend in school discipline has moved toward overreaction and overly punitive zero-tolerance policies.

“Overall, we’re seeing a lot of kids suspended for minor infractions,” said Losen. “All research says this is not educationally sound. When you’re essentially pushing kids out of school, without any adult supervision, you’re basically exacerbating the problem.”

‘A Clear Line’

Last May, the Los Angeles Unified school board took a ground-breaking step toward scaling back school disciplinary practices that have disproportionately impacted students of color. In a 5-2 vote, the board approved a ban suspending school children for wilful defiance.

The ACLU applauded the action, and helped draft a bill that would effectively ban schools from using willful defiance as a reason suspending elementary and middle school students, and limit its use for high school students.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a version of the measure. He said the bill took authority away from local schools.

Homayra Yusufi-Marin, a policy advocate for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said the bill would be a step in the right direction and that it would help reroute the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects black and Latino students.

“First, students are outcast and told that they’re bad or problematic. Then they’re transferred to another school, or they drop out on their own because they’re so far behind they could never catch up,” said Yusufi-Marin. “There’s a clear line that can be drawn between the groups of students who are being pushed of school and who are ending up in the criminal justice system.

Yusufi-Marin said supporters of the bill are working with Brown’s office to try to craft a measure that will pass.

A Tool for Teachers

Kearny High School teacher Danny Blas said that his teaching philosophy is rooted in social justice. He recognizes that black and Latino students are disciplined at higher rates, and said that this knowledge guides him as he responds to students’ behavior.

“I don’t think in my six years teaching I’ve ever suspended a student,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean Blas supports a statewide policy that would eliminate the use of willful defiance all together.

“I just wouldn’t want any tools taken away out of my hand,” he said. “I might not use it, but I like to know that it’s there if I need it. I wouldn’t want anyone who’s never been in my classroom making decisions about what I can and can’t do.”

Blas said that teachers in San Diego Unified have clearly defined policies for what to do about serious infractions like guns or drugs, but not for misbehavior that falls into a gray area – like refusing to do work.

Responses to that behavior, he said, can vary widely from site to site and from teacher to teacher. Hypothetically, if a student refused to participate, the teacher could push for his or her suspension. There’s no uniform approach.

Gary Orfield, a professor at UCLA and co-director of the Civil Rights Project, said that out-of-school suspension is a temporary fix that leads to a long-term problem.

“It’s important that this isn’t framed as an attack on teachers. It’s got to be framed as what it is: a symptom of a larger problem. And the numbers should be a fire bell telling us to pay attention,” he said.

Losen, Orfield’s colleague at the Civil Rights Project, said that it’s possible the reason Latino and black students are suspended at an overwhelming rate has to do in part with “implicit bias.”

“This means that we’re not consciously thinking of a child or group of students as bad or problematic, but we might associate certain negative stereotypes, which might change the way we respond to students’ behavior,” he said. “There’s this idea that if we kick misbehaving kids out of school, we’d create a better learning environment. This idea has no basis in research.”

What Else Works

Losen said he believes there are plenty of alternatives to suspensions that would be more effective.

In fact, multiple school districts around the state and country are already implementing alternative responses to misbehavior.

After the Office of Civil Rights investigated an Oakland school district to see whether they were punishing black students more often and more harshly, the district reformed its policies and promised to address them in a manner that does not require removal from school, whenever possible.

Denver has worked to institute restorative practices, like bringing in a mediator to help an offender and a victim work together to resolve a dispute. The idea is to hold students accountable while keeping them in school.

Large districts like Baltimore, Cleveland, and Philadelphia have embraced policies that were initiated by concerned community groups, educators and policymakers rather than federal agencies.

Many of the remedies Losen and Orfield recommend aren’t complicated: Teachers could be offered more cultural and emotional training that could help de-escalate situations before they erupt. More emphasis could be placed on building relationships between parents and schools.

“California, of all places — with its broken criminal justice system — should know that punishing people to deal with a problem comes at a huge cost,” said Losen.

Correction: San Diego Unified’s chief student services officer is Joe Fulcher, not Joel Fulcher, as was written in a previous version of the story. We regret the error. 

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Mario Koran

Mario Koran

Mario reports on hospitals, nonprofits and educational institutions, digging into their impact on the greater San Diego community. Reach him directly at 619.325.0531, or by email: mario@vosd.org.

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99 comments
Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Solving a problem requires correctly identifying it, being honest about it and then moving forward on solving it.
Seems to be lacking here.

Lou
Lou

I'm curious on why Asian-Americans seemed to get suspended at a lower rate than whites when the argument presented is an anti-minority bias?

Lou
Lou

Catherine

Yet Randy Dontinga's posts about people's names get to stay up. I asked why Asian kids seem to behave in the system that is accused of being anti-minority and yet my post was deleted and his aren't?

Just say you guys have a bias, we all know anyway.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish subscriber

Jackson, one of the best posts I've ever seen on here. Thank you.

Oscar,

"However, if you’re going to live among the rest of us, then yes, we have obligations to each other."

You are confusing the common good with the individual good. I do not have an obligation to provide you, or other welfare leaches like Jason Greenslate free lobster, sushi, housing, energy or anything else.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin


Some Kids are just a problem.
One of my nephews, also named Daniel, was one of them.
In his case, unlike Vics little one, he just had problems with authority. He was always like that even as a toddler. He was raised in a good family with engaged parents yet was a constant pain in the rear getting in trouble, being disruptive in class( as in telling his teachers to "#@&* off").
After failing classes, not participating in after school programs and being suspended on a regular basis to the point of expulsion being brought up,

He Put his parents and the school, through hell actually. His not only wasted the schools time but also the learning time of his classmates.

The solution, fortunately for him was tough love, an option not available if you have parents that lack the skills and motivation to do so.
He was removed from school and allowed to pursue his GED. He was given the option to do this or move out on his own @ 18.
It was a dicey move for his parents as they were unsure if he would stick to it.
Not only did Daniel stick to it he excelled. After his GED he went to Barber college and earned his degree. He took up a position at a shop in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, something I counseled him not to do, and within a year was not only the head barber but had garnered quite a following.
He turns 21 this January. He is gainfully employed and well on his way to being self sufficient.
We are all very proud of Daniel. He turned it around and obtained "self worth through purpose" at a young age. (anyone want to go through their 20s again?)
Some kids just don't fit into the educational box and many are not college material. The current school environment doesn't offer alternatives to try and "spark" those that don fit or want to fit.

Vocational or alternative Callings are not part of the venue.
They should be. It would go along ways towards solving this "disruptive" problem

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember


Some Kids are just a problem.
One of my nephews, also named Daniel, was one of them.
In his case, unlike Vics little one, he just had problems with authority. He was always like that even as a toddler. He was raised in a good family with engaged parents yet was a constant pain in the rear getting in trouble, being disruptive in class( as in telling his teachers to "#@&* off").
After failing classes, not participating in after school programs and being suspended on a regular basis to the point of expulsion being brought up,

He Put his parents and the school, through hell actually. His not only wasted the schools time but also the learning time of his classmates.

The solution, fortunately for him was tough love, an option not available if you have parents that lack the skills and motivation to do so.
He was removed from school and allowed to pursue his GED. He was given the option to do this or move out on his own @ 18.
It was a dicey move for his parents as they were unsure if he would stick to it.
Not only did Daniel stick to it he excelled. After his GED he went to Barber college and earned his degree. He took up a position at a shop in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, something I counseled him not to do, and within a year was not only the head barber but had garnered quite a following.
He turns 21 this January. He is gainfully employed and well on his way to being self sufficient.
We are all very proud of Daniel. He turned it around and obtained "self worth through purpose" at a young age. (anyone want to go through their 20s again?)
Some kids just don't fit into the educational box and many are not college material. The current school environment doesn't offer alternatives to try and "spark" those that don fit or want to fit.

Vocational or alternative Callings are not part of the venue.
They should be. It would go along ways towards solving this "disruptive" problem

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Can anyone at vosd tell me why my comment was removed?

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Can anyone at vosd tell me why my comment was removed?

VeronicaCorningstone
VeronicaCorningstone subscriber

Kick them out where? In my experience, some of the brightest kids can be the most disruptive in the classroom. A better idea is to give the kids some tools to change from being a discipline problem to being an achiever. It can be done.

VeronicaCorningstone
VeronicaCorningstone subscriber

There's a really nice article on Cherokee Point here:
http://acestoohigh.com/2013/07/22/at-cherokee-point-elementary-kids-dont-conform-to-school-school-conforms-to-kids/
It talks about how trauma can make it hard to learn, and what the school is doing about it.At Cherokee Point Elementary, kids don't conform to school; school conforms to kidshttp://acestoohigh.com/2013/07/22/at-cherokee-point-elementary-kids-dont-conform-to-school-school-conforms-to-kids/What does ANY of the following POSSIBLY have to do with school discipline? Every day at 7:40 a.m., all of the school's 570 children start their day by eating a free breakfast. In their classrooms. With their classmates. Every other week, the San Dieg...

Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher subscriber

Well, if you state there's a gulf, then we'd have to accept that there is. If you haven't seen the changes in demographics and society over the past 40+ years in this country, then I guess you haven't. Either that, or you see them, but not as being negative.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish

"students of color are disproportionately punished for defiance"

Bill Bradshaw hit the nail on the head. They are either suspended because they commit the majority of the disruption, or they are suspended due to a racist conspiracy. We know which angle VOSD played to appease its PC readership. The question is, what is really happening? The answer might offend some sensitivities.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish subscriber

"students of color are disproportionately punished for defiance"

Bill Bradshaw hit the nail on the head. They are either suspended because they commit the majority of the disruption, or they are suspended due to a racist conspiracy. We know which angle VOSD played to appease its PC readership. The question is, what is really happening? The answer might offend some sensitivities.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

I'm not sure i can find any common ground with someone who honestly thinks society has degenerated, on the whole, over the past 40 years. That's a big gulf to cross.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Well said. Our whole politically-correct society caters to the lowest common denominator turning the melting pot into a cesspool.

Miyo
Miyo

Mario Koran has written an interesting article around suspension numbers and rates. Perhaps we should be focusing on individual students more than the ethnicity of the students. Daniel Noriega"s two dozen suspensions were probably added cumulatively to the calculated suspension rates. Suspension over achievers like Noriega can quickly affect a school's or group's suspension rate. The glaring statistic is not the 54 to 46 percent disparity for Latinos or the 22 to 11 percent disparity for Blacks. The glaring statistic is the 24 suspensions achieved by one individual student. Let's focus our attention on the suspension over achievers regardless of their ethnicity.

Joe Sandiego
Joe Sandiego

It is unbelievable to hear this Politically Correct nonsense. The goal is to educate the kids. If insubordinate kids are disrupting good kids from learning, it is a duty to the good kids to kick the disruptive kids out. This idea that we teach to the lowest common denominator is a failed concept and must be ended. I believe we should range the kids in ability, not age, broken into 4 groups. Bright kids, Average kids, Slow learners, and last and least Discipline Problem kids. By mixing the kids you are merely dragging down kids who have a chance to succeed in a global economy, and causing our graduates to rank 25th in the world. The minority dropout rate is 25%-50%, and these are the kids who should be in Discipline Class. If they cannot master basic Discipline, they will never succeed in the economic world. We are harming them by keeping them in school, and not teaching them a lesson early. By age 15, if they are still failing, we should quit academic training, and switch to teaching them to work with their hands, plumbing, auto, construction, janitorial, maintainance. Quit worrying about Algebra, and start helping them to get a job.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Could it be that black and Hispanic kids are being suspended "disproportionally" because they are the ones causing the problem? Or is this a massive racist conspiracy? So of course the entire class should suffer so these little darlings receive a disproportionate amount of the teachers' limited time and the schools' limited resources. What happened to reform school? As far as I'm concerned, the shorter the "pipeline to prison" the better for the rest of us future victims of their crime. As for little Daniel Noriega, a father's timely and firm slap of his face would have saved everyone a lot of grief a long time ago.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Could it be that black and Hispanic kids are being suspended "disproportionally" because they are the ones causing the problem? Or is this a massive racist conspiracy? So of course the entire class should suffer so these little darlings receive a disproportionate amount of the teachers' limited time and the schools' limited resources. What happened to reform school? As far as I'm concerned, the shorter the "pipeline to prison" the better for the rest of us future victims of their crime. As for little Daniel Noriega, a father's timely and firm slap of his face would have saved everyone a lot of grief a long time ago.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Some Kids are just a problem..
One of my nephews, also named Daniel, was one of them.
In his case, unlike Vics little one, he just had problems with authority. He was always like that even as a toddler. He was raised in a good family with engaged parents yet was a constant pain in the arse getting in trouble, being disruptive in class( as in telling his teachers to "#@&* off").
After failing classes, not participating in after school programs and being suspended on a regular basis to the point of expulsion being brought up,
Put his parents and the school, through hell actually.
The solution, fortunately for him was tough love, an option not available if you have parents that lack the skills and motivation to do so.
He was removed from school and allowed to pursue his GED. He was given the option to do this or move out on his own @ 18.
It was a dicey move for his parents as they were unsure if he would stick to it.
Not only did Daniel stick to it he excelled. After his GED he went to Barber college and earned his degree. He took up a position at a shop in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, something I counseled him not to do, and within a year was not only the head barber but had garnered quite a following.
He turns 21 this January. He is gainfully employed and well on his way to being self sufficient.
We are all very proud of Daniel. He turned it around obtained "self worth through purpose" at a young age. (anyone want to go through their 20s again?)
Some kids just don't fit into the educational box and many are not college material. The current school environment doesn't offer alternatives to try and "spark" those that don fit or want to fit.
Vocational or alternative Callings are not part of the venue.
They should be. It would go along ways towards solving this "disruptive" problem

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Some Kids are just a problem..
One of my nephews, also named Daniel, was one of them.
In his case, unlike Vics little one, he just had problems with authority. He was always like that even as a toddler. He was raised in a good family with engaged parents yet was a constant pain in the arse getting in trouble, being disruptive in class( as in telling his teachers to "#@&* off").
After failing classes, not participating in after school programs and being suspended on a regular basis to the point of expulsion being brought up,
Put his parents and the school, through hell actually.
The solution, fortunately for him was tough love, an option not available if you have parents that lack the skills and motivation to do so.
He was removed from school and allowed to pursue his GED. He was given the option to do this or move out on his own @ 18.
It was a dicey move for his parents as they were unsure if he would stick to it.
Not only did Daniel stick to it he excelled. After his GED he went to Barber college and earned his degree. He took up a position at a shop in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, something I counseled him not to do, and within a year was not only the head barber but had garnered quite a following.
He turns 21 this January. He is gainfully employed and well on his way to being self sufficient.
We are all very proud of Daniel. He turned it around obtained "self worth through purpose" at a young age. (anyone want to go through their 20s again?)
Some kids just don't fit into the educational box and many are not college material. The current school environment doesn't offer alternatives to try and "spark" those that don fit or want to fit.
Vocational or alternative Callings are not part of the venue.
They should be. It would go along ways towards solving this "disruptive" problem

Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher subscriber

Simple: Societal decay and loss of values. As an example, when society supports single parenthood (which produces poverty in the parent and the offspring), we seem to pretend that it doesn't affect society, but it has. Look at the changes over the past 40+ years.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

Jackson: You state, "If "parents" can't do their job, they shouldn't be procreating in the first place." There are no laws or litmus tests for ideal parenting. There are plenty of examples of poor parenting at all economic levels. Mr. Ramos's point, as I understand it is that since we can't mandate parenting or prevent those we consider bad parents from having kids, we need to figure out a way to help ensure they are supported in youth so that they don't end up being problems for themselves or the rest of us. It's a pay now or pay later reality.

Oscar Ramos
Oscar Ramos subscribermember

This idea that no one bears any responsibility to each other only works for people who are willing to live life off the grid and move into the mountains and forests, hunting their own food and making their own clothing and shelter. At that point I would agree that no one else’s problems are yours. However, if you’re going to live among the rest of us, then yes, we have obligations to each other.

I pay for your police and fire protection, your streets, your or your family’s Social Security and Medicare, your or your friends’ kids’ education and all kinds of safety net programs for when you or anyone in your life falls on hard times. Whether or not we agree on political issues, I still owe you those opportunities. And you owe them to me and everyone else that lives here.

If we are going to claim to be a just society, then we can’t allow for something as arbitrary as which family you are born into to be the sole determinant of your life’s opportunities. Government can’t replace good parenting, but a good education system can break the cycle of poverty.

vdj
vdj

There are bad apples of every race and gender, and a ton of factors may come in to play as to why each individual chooses to behave a certain way which results in discipline...BUT I have experienced how race does seemingly play a factor in some cases. Just as we can point flaws out in the kids who are getting in trouble, none of us can say that all teachers are perfect.
My lil one has high functioning Aspergers (medically diagnosed), and so did a fellow classmate who is considered not a minority. The classmate was viewed as having special needs when he had a tandrum, while ,although my lil one has less severe tandrums, mine was considered a spoiled trouble maker who had no home training. Teachers spoke about him and his reputation followed him grade after grade until one extraordinary teacher and new administrators stepped up and listened to the medical diagnosis. The funny thing is that my lil one wasn't getting in trouble because he wasn't doing his school work, but he was getting in trouble because he wanted to read and study instead of playing duck-duck-goose with the oher kids.
The classmate in the meantime was getting in trouble because he didn't want to listen to the assignments and was disruptive....but staff went above and beyond to give the classmate the benefit of doubt.
With all that now been said, no one is perfect....so let's solve the problem that impacts everyone. All kids run the risk of supension and expulsion, regardless of race. Fix the schools and provide equal learning opportuniies for eveyone. Some kids get ipads to assist with homework while others have torn text books.

Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Oh, goodness. So the children disrupting class are "losing" the most through established practices designed to give all the other kids a shot at an education without disruption. And, of course, one of the (typical?) disruptive students is now--naturally--a 4.0 student. He's the example mentioned. The only one, at that. And--shocks of shocks--kids from the poorest performing ethnic groups ("children of color") are targeted at higher rates than others--not because they might, well, actually deserve it in the eyes of their teachers, but because there's an undefined "catch" to the policy. If VOSD's brand strategy is to be the leftist anti-U-T, you are well on the way to achieving the stereotype. Well done, Mario.

Joe Jones
Joe Jones subscriber

Oh, goodness. So the children disrupting class are "losing" the most through established practices designed to give all the other kids a shot at an education without disruption. And, of course, one of the (typical?) disruptive students is now--naturally--a 4.0 student. He's the example mentioned. The only one, at that. And--shocks of shocks--kids from the poorest performing ethnic groups ("children of color") are targeted at higher rates than others--not because they might, well, actually deserve it in the eyes of their teachers, but because there's an undefined "catch" to the policy. If VOSD's brand strategy is to be the leftist anti-U-T, you are well on the way to achieving the stereotype. Well done, Mario.

Oscar Ramos
Oscar Ramos

Voice recently published an article about the achievement gap in high school, which showed that black and Latino students are achieving academically at lower rates than their white and Asian peers. Then they published an article about the gang problem, noting that the average age to join a gang is around 13 years old. Now we’re seeing that black and Latino students get suspended at higher rates than their white and Asian peers.

These issues all stem from the same problem: the effect of poverty and our failure to address it through economic and educational means as early as possible.

The first opportunity for intervention is not when a kid is cussing at his teacher. The first opportunity was when his parents were raising him, which is a private responsibility. However, if parents don’t do their job, that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. We stand to gain or pay if that kid becomes an engineer or a criminal, and giving every person in our society opportunity is simply something that we owe each other, so there is no doubt that the rest of us have some level of responsibility for this cussing child.

If children had access to an educational system that helped them develop the academic and social skills necessary for success in our society, and they went home to safe neighborhoods and homes with parents who had jobs with non-poverty wages, they would certainly be doing better in school.

However, to say that poverty is at the root of these problems doesn’t let teachers and schools off the hook. Most teachers know of a student who is a saint in one class but acts like a devil in the next. Teachers’ lessons and management styles can have a huge influence on that variation in behavior. I gave the most referrals in my first two years of teaching, whereas I can’t remember when I last gave one out (I’m in my 10th year). This isn’t because my kids have progressively become better behaved. I’ve learned how to manage my class better. My lessons are more engaging and leave less room for behavior that leads to confrontational situations that result in suspensions. When disciplinary situations do arise, I’m able to address them without making my students feel cornered so that they have to lash out in order to save face. Putting the most inexperienced teachers in schools with students with low academic skills and who have not developed the social behavioral and conversational norms that middle and upper class people take for granted is a recipe for disaster, as we are seeing.

Also- race, age, and gender matter when disciplining students. That’s not to say that one particular race, age, or gender is better equipped to teach at these “complex schools.” It does mean that teachers and administration officials need to be aware of their how their own identities can influence how students and families perceive disciplinary situations. Sensitivity in this area is not some liberal-minded weakness. It’s an important skill for adults to develop in order to help guide these children into adulthood.

One more thing- can we please stop deporting U.S. citizen children’s parents?

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Solving a problem requires correctly identifying it, being honest about it and then moving forward on solving it.
Seems to be lacking here.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Could you be more specific? I fail to see how anything I wrote could be even remotely considered hate speech. Thank you.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Could you be more specific? I fail to see how anything I wrote could be even remotely considered hate speech. Thank you.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Mr. Finish: "Finish" doesn't appear to be a real last name, at least according to Internet searches. In fact, the Social Security Death Index doesn't list anyone with this last name among millions and millions of Americans who have died.

Is it yours?

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

Mr. Finish: "Finish" doesn't appear to be a real last name, at least according to Internet searches. In fact, the Social Security Death Index doesn't list anyone with this last name among millions and millions of Americans who have died.

Is it yours?

VeronicaCorningstone
VeronicaCorningstone

Kick them out where? In my experience, some of the brightest kids can be the most disruptive in the classroom. A better idea is to give the kids some tools to change from being a discipline problem to being an achiever. It can be done.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Well said. Our whole politically-correct society caters to the lowest common denominator turning the melting pot into a cesspool.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Let me be the one to cast the first meme: Nope, nope, nope.

I shall also look for a meme for a massive sigh characterized by disgust, regret and bewilderment.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

Let me be the one to cast the first meme: Nope, nope, nope.

I shall also look for a meme for a massive sigh characterized by disgust, regret and bewilderment.

Ann Runge
Ann Runge

Students that receive the I-pads for learning have it as a documented tool. visually disable students; CP students and others that need the device to COMMUNICATE. This has nothing to do with this post, don't get distracted. It is not just for "homework" it is for every day all day. This post is about inequities in suspensions and expulsions.

Mario Koran
Mario Koran

vdj, I'd really like to talk to you more about this. Please give me a call, or email me at mario@vosd.org if you're comfortable sharing more. Thank you.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

What's your evidence for "mind you, for a kid to get suspended at SDUSD, it has to go pretty far and be pretty bad"?

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Where does the story say that these kids are all getting in trouble for disrupting classes?


Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

What's your evidence for "mind you, for a kid to get suspended at SDUSD, it has to go pretty far and be pretty bad"?

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

Where does the story say that these kids are all getting in trouble for disrupting classes?


Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher

The shame I'm talking about is that if you goof up, particularly because you know better, you should feel badly about it, and if you don't know better, you realize that you do want to do better. Bill Cosby spoke to this a few years ago in response to some incidents in Chicago or Pennsylvania (Philadelphia?). Because what he said ran counter to politically correct views, efforts were made to ignore him, despite the truth and just plain wisdom of what he said. As far as feeling ashamed about doing something wrong, some people call this having (and honoring) a conscience. I'm a fan of that. I tend to think that there's an inborn moral compass, which should be nurtured, or we don't have decent human adults, but monsters in human form (the "which wolf you feed", if you're familiar with that analogy). As C.S. Lewis has pointed out, in the varieties of what people call right and wrong, what seems to be universal is the view that there _is_ a right and a wrong. We certainly see this on both (or all) sides of political and philosophical leanings.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Are you the same Bob Seegmiller who went to college in the 1970s and majored in ballet? (This is what a LinkedIn profile says for a Bob Seegmiller in San Diego.)

If so, what conflicts did you face, if any, in regard to cultural expectations, societal ideals and the fates of people who don't meet them?

I'm not questioning that parents should do a good job. I'm questioning where "shame" fits in and wondering whether you encountered attempts to shame you and, if so, how you dealt with them.

Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher

If parents aren't doing their job, there used to be societal pressure on folks to hold to at least part of an ideal, and a concept called "shame". If we say that some are exempt from this because of cultural reasons (respecting someone's culture, say), we do our society a great disservice.

Jackson
Jackson

"However, if parents don’t do their job, that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook."

Wrong. If "parents" can't do their job, they shouldn't be procreating in the first place. Raising that kid is the parents' responsibility, period. If you can't parent, don't pop out a brood you can't raise and support. This is life 101. No one will ever -- ever -- impose their spawn upon me because they are irresponsible parents. Not my problem, not now, not ever.

"We stand to gain or pay if that kid becomes an engineer or a criminal, and giving every person in our society opportunity is simply something that we owe each other, so there is no doubt that the rest of us have some level of responsibility for this cussing child."

Quite wrong. The state already does more than it should, taxing everyone (those with kids, as well as those without) to pay for all manner of programs. Free public school. Free lunch programs. Earned income and other child tax credits. Dependency credits. WIC, CalFRESH, CalWORK, LiHEAP, SCHIP, MediCal, and a host of other tools and programs covering school, health, food, insurance, housing, and all the rest. Hell, you could raise a family without a parent working even a single day in their lives.

What the hell else do you want? People now have to take responsibility for atrocious parents, raising their unwanted spawn as well?

No. A million times, no. The planet already is overpopulated -- the Earth doesn't need your genes, or your kids. If you are irresponsible, if you can't parent, or even if you have a question about it, don't procreate. Don't pop out spawn you can't watch or control.

I reject with extreme prejudice every word you say about other people having any more responsibility for bad parenting. Nor do you have the right, or the ability, to impose your views on to the rest of us.

If you can't raise 'em, don't have em. Period.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish

Randy, are you suggesting they are not being suspended due to causing disruption? If so, what are you suggesting they are being suspended for?

Matt Finish
Matt Finish subscriber

Randy, are you suggesting they are not being suspended due to causing disruption? If so, what are you suggesting they are being suspended for?

Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher

There's a chain of events that culminates in the suspension, and it's fairly logical. Kid disrupts class, teacher requests him to stop, kid doesn't and gives teacher attitude -- that's defiance: a student failing to follow the instructions of a teacher. Mind you, for a kid to get suspended at SDUSD, it has to go pretty far and be pretty bad, because teachers are reluctant to lower this boom on kids, particularly minorities like black and Hispanic/Latino (because of the attention it gets as a fake "race" issue). Does it disrupt a class? Yes. Your legalism on the presence/non-presence of "disruption" in the original article duly noted.

Bit-watcher
Bit-watcher subscriber

There's a chain of events that culminates in the suspension, and it's fairly logical. Kid disrupts class, teacher requests him to stop, kid doesn't and gives teacher attitude -- that's defiance: a student failing to follow the instructions of a teacher. Mind you, for a kid to get suspended at SDUSD, it has to go pretty far and be pretty bad, because teachers are reluctant to lower this boom on kids, particularly minorities like black and Hispanic/Latino (because of the attention it gets as a fake "race" issue). Does it disrupt a class? Yes. Your legalism on the presence/non-presence of "disruption" in the original article duly noted.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish

Jackson, one of the best posts I've ever seen on here. Thank you.

Oscar,

"However, if you’re going to live among the rest of us, then yes, we have obligations to each other."

You are confusing the common good with the individual good. I do not have an obligation to provide you, or other welfare leaches like Jason Greenslate free lobster, sushi, housing, energy or anything else.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Jackson: You state, "If "parents" can't do their job, they shouldn't be procreating in the first place." There are no laws or litmus tests for ideal parenting. There are plenty of examples of poor parenting at all economic levels. Mr. Ramos's point, as I understand it is that since we can't mandate parenting or prevent those we consider bad parents from having kids, we need to figure out a way to help ensure they are supported in youth so that they don't end up being problems for themselves or the rest of us. It's a pay now or pay later reality.

Oscar Ramos
Oscar Ramos

This idea that no one bears any responsibility to each other only works for people who are willing to live life off the grid and move into the mountains and forests, hunting their own food and making their own clothing and shelter. At that point I would agree that no one else’s problems are yours. However, if you’re going to live among the rest of us, then yes, we have obligations to each other.

I pay for your police and fire protection, your streets, your or your family’s Social Security and Medicare, your or your friends’ kids’ education and all kinds of safety net programs for when you or anyone in your life falls on hard times. Whether or not we agree on political issues, I still owe you those opportunities. And you owe them to me and everyone else that lives here.

If we are going to claim to be a just society, then we can’t allow for something as arbitrary as which family you are born into to be the sole determinant of your life’s opportunities. Government can’t replace good parenting, but a good education system can break the cycle of poverty.