When students disrupt learning in the classroom despite repeated warnings and counseling, they need to be suspended. Yet because such suspensions show racial disparities, the entire policy is attacked (“NYC Student Suspensions Rise as Advocates Call for Change,” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1).
In New York City, for example, 46 percent of suspensions in 2017-18 involved black students who constitute 26 percent of enrollment. Hence, critics charge the suspensions show racial bias. But white students are suspended more than Asian students? Does that mean the policy is racially biased against white students also?
If people have not taught in a public school, they have no idea how the presence of even one recalcitrant student can ruin the education for all other students and become a nightmare for the teacher. When I was teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District, busing began. Teachers were not given any preparation for the influx. Any attempt to discipline a disruptive student from that group was automatically denounced as racially biased.
As a result, teachers began to allow behavior that soon turned classrooms into chaos. Not surprisingly, teacher morale was severely undermined. I don’t think what happened at the high school where I taught for my entire 28-year career is unique.
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