Lopsided discipline takes toll on black male students by ProQuest


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									From the Editors

             Lopsided discipline takes
             toll on black male students
                           By Veronica Anderson                 average. Principals at both schools reversed
                              Editor-in-Chief                   the trend once they zeroed in on the prob-          CODE OF CONDUCT
                                                                lem and embraced alternative discipline             CPS policy stipulates the following mitigating

                       frican-American boys face a pecu-        and student motivation strategies that didn’t       factors be taken into account when disciplin-
                       liar dilemma in Chicago’s public         result in boys missing classes. Rather than         ing students:
                       schools: how to get a solid educa-       blaming students, these educators took it              age, health, maturity, and academic
                       tion when, more than any other           upon themselves to look for ways to address            placement
             group of students, they are singled out for        behavior issues that ensured students’ aca-            prior conduct
             harsh punishments and sent packing for             demic needs were factored in.                          attitude
             days, weeks, sometimes months at a time.               Here’s what’s at stake: More African-              parent/guardian cooperation and/or
             Some are expelled—even in elementary               American male students drop out of CPS                 involvement
             school—for a year or longer. Many folks            (55 percent) than graduate (40 percent).               willingness to make restitution
             assume that these punishments are                  Research shows, unequivocally, that stu-               seriousness of the offense
             deserved. Isn’t it true, they ask, that black      dents who are absent perform poorly, and               willingness to enroll in a student assistance
             male students are more likely to behave in         that suspensions put students at risk for              program
             ways that warrant such sanctions?                  dropping out.
                                                                                                                    Source: CPS Student Code of Conduct 2008-2009
                 This wrong-minded logic is endemic in              When it comes to punishing black
             today’s society, where negative stereotypes        male students, the district’s scales of jus-
             of black males are pervasive. While it is true     tice tilt toward discrimination. It’s time for    resources to raise graduation rates and
             that black males can be found in the uni-          CPS to publicly recognize that something          keep students from dropping out.
             verse of students who behave badly at              is wrong, and for CEO Ron Huberman to                 Those kindergartners who started school
             school, it is not at all correct to presume that   take it upon himself to address, dis-             the same year I joined Catalyst graduated this
             all black males who are suspended or               trictwide, the paradox of black male pun-         month—or at least the ones who survived the
             expelled from school deserve what they got.        ishment and performance.                          system and earned enough credits to do so. At
                 The numbers are st
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