Racism, zero tolerance mean school failure

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Kevin Palmer Martinez
Kevin Palmer 

Racism, zero tolerance mean school failure

By Kevin Palmer

Underprivileged parents fail their children because of inadequate parenting skills. However, failing schools fail their students because of greed, as well as, draconian zero tolerance and drug-free school policies that are rooted in racism which is why African Americans are disproportionately punished and marginalized.

As far as the problem of failing schools and greed, noted African American psychologist Dr. Amos Wilson said, “If you want to understand any problem in America, you must focus on who profits from that problem, not who suffers from the problem.” Those who profit include greedy corporations, politicians, attorneys, and contractors who see tremendous profit in school failure because failure produces failing students and failing students mean a steady stream of warm bodies for the legal system and prison industrial complex. In an October 2016 New York Times article, The Unintended Consequences of Taking a Hard Line on School Discipline, the “school-to-prison-pipeline” created by zero tolerance policies is described. The article states, “Young people are suspended from classes for long stretches, or are handed over to police. As a result, they become prime candidates for quitting school entirely.

Dropping out, in turn, makes them less likely to find jobs and more likely to become part of the criminal class.” Unfortunately, many become underprivileged parents.  Therefore, chronic school failure has more to do with greed, racism, and calloused policies and less to do with underprivileged parents.

Moreover, the same article states, “The concept of zero tolerance has come to encompass such a broad range of disruptive actions that roughly three million school children are suspended each year, several hundred thousand are arrested or given criminal citations. Many students are hauled off to police station houses for antisocial behavior that, a generation or two ago, would have sent them no farther than the principal’s office.” On top of that, “It has not been lost on researchers that students expelled, suspended or arrested on charges like disorderly conduct are disproportionately black and Latino, or disabled mentally, or physically. In kindergarten to 12th grade, blacks were 3.8 times as likely as whites to receive out-of-school suspensions, according to the United States Department of Educations.”

Sadly, drug-free school policies are no better. First, most school employees are not even drug tested as a condition of employment. Second, a DrugWarFacts.org website article, Drug Free Policies and Growing Underclass, states, “But while drug-free schools remain a fantasy, their policies are contributing to an uneducated underclass that just gets larger, more despairing, and more entrenched. This underclass now includes five million young adults between sixteen and twenty-four who are both out of school and out of work, with few skills and fewer prospects. And it includes Black Americans and other racial minorities who have never remotely attained the standard of well-being common throughout the developed world.”



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    About Carma Henry 13852 Articles
    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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