Following the aftermath of gunman rampaging his way through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, conservative commentators have been desperately searching for something to blame — and they have landed on an unlikely suspect: an Obama-era guidance document that aimed to guide the suspensions and expulsions of minority students.
Black students have never found themselves the perpetrators in mass shootings at least not on the level that would shock the nation’s morality nor have minority schools ever found themselves the targets. However, the argument remains that any relaxation of strict disciplinary efforts will inevitable allow a shooter to slip through the cracks.
This week, President Trump brought attention to the alleged connection, declaring that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will spearhead a school safety commission tasked in part with examining the “repeal of the Obama administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”
Trump’s plan of action is “notably backing away from raising the purchase age for assault-style rifles and restricting magazine capacity,” the N.A.A.C.P. explained, and instead focusing on a system that once sent one million minority students to Florida jails for “simple and routine discipline issues ranging from talking back to teachers to schoolyard scuffles.”
The problem with disciplinary guidance was brought up formally by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who, after witnessing a recent surge of conservative news media reports, wrote a letter to Ms. DeVos.
“The overarching goals of the 2014 directive to mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline, reduce suspensions and expulsions, and to prevent racially biased discipline are laudable and should be explored,” Mr. Rubio wrote. “However, any policy seeking to achieve these goals requires basic common sense and an understanding that failure to report troubled students, like Cruz, to law enforcement can have dangerous repercussions.”
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