Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DC's Suspension Quotas are Qrecking Havoc on our Public Schools

By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

The Justice Department and the Department of Education are directly intervening in public schools. On January 8, 2014, President Obama’s administration recommended ending “zero tolerance for violence in the schools.”  In order to accomplish this the Justice department is scrutinizing public schools just like they are doing selectively with local law enforcement throughout the country. The intention is to change enforcing policies to lower black student suspensions in school.

The federal bureaucracies have statistically found that black students are three times more likely to be suspended from school than white students. They have concluded that suspensions lead to a pipeline to prison for these students. Progressives have interpreted this as systematic public school discrimination against blacks. The solution by intrusive federal investigators to lower suspensions is to intimidate local school officials and local education board members with threats of losing federal funds.

An incident in South Carolina where a police officer attempted to pull a disruptive female student from her chair was splashed across the media. It was to demonstrate the violence of the police against black teenagers. The fact of the situation was that neither the assistant principal nor the principal could get the disruptive girl to cooperate and gave the problem over to the police officer to handle.

The disruptive female student refused to comply. It was only after these failed interventions by the administrators that the resource officer resorted to physically removing her from the classroom. The so called “excessive force” by the police officer was the result of the defiant student’s behavior that escalated until the officer needed to drag her from the chair.  In a cowardly performance the superintendent of the school district threw the officer under the bus by firing him. The federal bureaucrats are being effective in reshaping local school policy by thuggery.

This federal approach has had the same impact on suspensions as it has in law enforcement where the “Ferguson Effect” has lowered arrests while local crime has significantly increased. The suspension of black students has significantly decreased by half in many districts while disruptions and violent behavior are up. Federal intervention in local school affairs will change what was developed over time as the best local practices into a new operation procedure. The problem with this process of calling the shots from DC to force a change in these procedures does not solve the root issue of providing a safe education environment for students to learn.

It is verifiable that suspensions have decreased but making these acting out, disruptive students becoming better behaved is not being addressed or tracked. Teachers have stopped requesting suspensions because they understand their personal consequences for their reporting them. These requests for suspensions have to go to an area supervisor who is under pressure to meet the federal quotas. Invariably the teachers overlook offences to maintain their positions.

Many of the infractions like threatening or even assaulting teachers and students, disobeying commands, using cell phones in class, wandering in the halls, pushing, and wearing inappropriate attire are being overlooked and are becoming rampant. The excellent students have become targets making learning almost impossible. The less motivated students attempt to blend in by imitating the thugs’ behavior instead of being assaulted.  These students would not have acted out in a more disciplined environment. Disrespect and chaos are spreading.

This lack of reporting of offences emboldens the anti social students to increase their acting-out making the school climate more dangerous and frightening to all students especially those who want to do well in school. The bureaucratic administrators will explain away the increase in chaos. They will do this in the same way all failed federal programs have been explained over decades. A spokesperson will state that the chaos is caused by a lack of sufficient funding to schools for more personnel and increases in salaries for additional specialists.

This is always the reason given for any problem. Only if there were more psychologists, assistant principals, social workers, guidance counselors, teaching training programs, the quota system for suspensions would work. The fallback position of being under funded is becoming increasingly hard to swallow. We spend more total money on education than any other nation.

It is not about the lack of money but how we are using our immense resources. The pertinent issue is the intrusion by the feds into our local public schools further disrupting them from offering a quality education. The hand of the feds meddling in local schools will end any hope of returning to a wholesome education. The federal government is solidifying their power to micromanage all aspects of education and other institutions.

This approach in public education is frightening as there are no checks and balances to protect the rights of students, parents and teachers. That is needed to ensure a quality education from these federal bureaucrats. Our schools are supposed to be locally controlled according to our constitution to efficiently meet the needs of local communities, students and parents.

Without local control our schools will rapidly become indoctrination centers of the all powerful central government.  This should be stopped and reversed. It will only happen by the strong voice of the people.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at

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