The Salvation of Restorative Justice

Let’s go to the Buffalo News for the next story: “A Buffalo teacher was assaulted by a student at Highgate Heights Elementary School. Highgate Heights is 92 percent black, and parents and teachers say violence has been an everyday fact of life there for a very long time.

The student has been suspended. The teacher was in a hallway heading back to her classroom when she encountered the student, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore said. When the teacher asked the student what she was doing in the hall, the student forced the teacher to the floor, kicked her in the face and chest and beat her with a book. Rumore said he wanted to make sure the girl received anger management training before she is re-admitted to the school.”

She committed a vicious assault on a teacher. She can get training in jail.

“Last year, teachers even issued a warning after a May 2014 teacher beat-down at Bennett High School in Buffalo. Last month, a local news station told about Bennett teachers who had come forward asking for help because they felt unsafe. They had even appealed to the school board saying conditions had become chaotic with students fighting and roaming the halls. Now a vivid video describes just what they were talking about.

 Tje video shows an older white teacher, Kevin Coady, trying to break up a fight among black students.  They did not like that, so they beat him instead. “Every time I think about going back I start…really I start to shake. Right now, I’m thinking to myself I don’t know if I can ever walk back in there again and I know I have to.”

Coady said this year – he says he was repeatedly shoved by a student in October – is the first time in his career “that I felt that there was no support and I was not safe.”  He adds, “For the whole year, that’s been the common theme around the school, let’s ignore stuff.”

Moving on: the website Little Rock Matters describes another recent attack.  “A 66-year-old woman who works as an assistant principal at a local middle school has been injured in a hallway beating by a student, according to police. The assistant principal was attacked after calling the suspect out into the hallway and trying to keep the two girls apart. The student punched the assistant principal in the facial region for about 20 seconds. The injured woman was taken to the hospital after telling police she had head and neck pain and difficulty walking.”

This has been happening for a long time at Pulaski Heights Middle School, says one parent to GreatSchools.org: “The children are out of control. If your student has a substitute, forget about any learning. Students make noises and get out of their seats during normal class time. Bullying is not addressed. The vice principal does nothing to address any bullying issue. His standard response is to “agree to disagree”. School district policy on bullying is not followed at all. Fights and threats are common occurrences.”

Black violence toward teachers is a problem in every major school district in America.  The American Psychological Association Journal took a stab at it in 2014: ‘Teachers across the United States report alarmingly high rates of personally experiencing student violence and harassment while at school, according to an article published by the American Psychological Association that presents comprehensive recommendations to make schools safer for school personnel as well as students.’ The study had nothing to say about the high propensity for student-on-teacher violence in predominantly black school districts. Maybe next time.

“A challenge: find some white students beating on teachers on video. Because there are a ton of examples of black students doing just that – many on a YouTube playlist. Or you could talk to the head of the teachers’ unions in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Washington and other cities where teachers are afraid to enter the classrooms because of the growing threat of violence.

According to author Mark Hendricks, “Glenn Singleton knows all about the roots of all this black student-initiated violence that teachers experience every day: white racism. [Let’s make sure we understand. Black students initiate violence against white teachers because they – the teachers – practice white-racism. It’s all the teachers’ fault. Got it?]

Singleton is the author of Courageous Conversations, the most popular manual to train teachers how to eliminate racial disparity in grades and discipline.  As the pied piper of Critical Race Theory in schools, Singleton insists that teachers must know three things to do their jobs:

1) White racism is everywhere.

2) White racism is permanent.

3) White racism explains everything.

And he preaches this in hundreds of school districts around the country. The secret of disproportionate levels of black violence in schools is no secret.  Singleton is way past trying to deny it.  But he does explain it: “White educators are prone to wondering why black and brown boys are prone to fighting in school,” he writes.

“They question why violence is taught in homes of color. Missing from this analysis however is how these boys might be affected by growing up in a white-governed country which threatens young men of color at will, distrusts their ability to succeed and follow the law, and allows daily racial stress to mount in neighborhoods, schools and classrooms.”

[This is, of course, a classic description of the mindset of the PLDC, the champions of the urban core, who perpetuate these conditions by denying minority children’s families the right to choose the schools their children attend – like charter schools.]

“Marlin Newburn is [rightly] unimpressed. After 30 years as a court-ordered and prison psychologist, Newburn has seen up close what happens when schools excuse bad behavior for any reason, including race. Especially race. “The liberal is the prototypical appeaser of bad behavior, and for decades, liberals have run public schools in America,” Newburn said.

“I’ve seen firsthand where the most brutal school space-taker [not “student”] will be given scores of chances instead of permanently sending it home for parental repair. After all, the public-school potentates believe school thugs are just misunderstood and should be given unending chances to destroy the learning environment. That the teachers are paying the personal price for this thug-enabling system comes not as a shock. It is predictable.”

But it’s not just the students who display psychopathic behavior. “The enraged mother of a kindergartner stormed into her child’s classroom. She allegedly punched her kid’s teacher in the face, grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head twice into a file cabinet. It made national news for its shock value. But the nation’s public-school teachers and principals were not at all surprised at the violent outburst this month at a Hickman Mills elementary school.

They’ve had to contend with a growing number of angry and sometimes abusive parents in recent years. “When I saw that on the news,” said retired Kansas City principal Roxanne Pearce, “those were the things that gave you the headaches and upset stomach.” experts say, teachers and administrators are increasingly becoming punching bags and targets of verbal abuse by students as well as their parents.

That Hickman Mills mom thought the teacher had scratched her child. As it turned out, police said, the child made that up.

Of course, the vast majority of parents are helpful and supportive of the teachers to whom they have entrusted their children’s educations. But teachers also must deal with more psychologically challenged (or maybe drug addled) parents than a generation ago.

Perhaps the solution is more minority teachers. It would probably help overall but it is not the magic bullet. To wit:

A Georgia middle school science teacher and a para-professional [both African-Americans] got into a vicious classroom brawl in front of horrified students who captured the fight on video. The two large women, who have not been identified, started throwing punches at one another at Stone Mountain Middle School, which is northeast of downtown Atlanta.

“From what I think I know, the teachers were arguing about a teacher, a male teacher, and they started arguing and it went on for about three to five minutes,” a student told the network. “Everyone was screaming like stop, stop, stop.” Cellphone video shows one of the women repeatedly punching the other in the face as two students try to break up the fight, to no avail. “One of them was pushed up against the wall because they were so close to hitting her,” a student said. The brawl eventually was broken up by another staff member.

In a letter sent home to parents, the school said the two women had “engaged in a physical altercation that caused a major disturbance in a classroom” and that both would be disciplined. “The interaction and conduct in the video is completely unacceptable and contrary to our district’s tenets and core principles,” school officials said in a statement. “Those staff members that participated in the conduct have been removed from the learning environment.” [No mention of how physically dangerous this situation was for the students – two out-of-control large adults in such a confined space.]

Both women were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in a public place. They’ll be allowed to keep their jobs pending the outcome of the school district’s investigation.

But confrontations in person, over the phone or by text or email also erupt for any number of reasons, with grades and student discipline leading the way, according to the findings of a 2005 survey of 7,000 educators in Kentucky. While there’s no conclusive data showing how often these encounters turn violent, incidents like the one at Truman Elementary School regularly make headlines:

• At an elementary school in Donalsonville, Ga., during Teacher Appreciation Week, a 49-year-old mother allegedly beat a teacher with a broomstick and pulled her screaming down a hallway by her hair. The spark that set it off was the teacher’s insistence that the woman have a visitor’s pass to be in the building.

• A woman and her two daughters were arrested this year for allegedly beating a Los Angeles middle school teacher during the school day in a dispute over scheduling.

• This spring, after breaking up a fight between two fourth-graders, a substitute teacher in Brooklyn allegedly was pummeled by the father of one of the boys. The man accused the teacher of choking his son during the altercation. “For a parent to walk into a building and bloody my face in front of students so badly that I’m slipping on my own blood,” the teacher told a TV reporter, “what are you doing to help the teachers?”

This is sickening. But even more nauseating is this. Crisis or not, the spring publication of the scientific paper in the American Psychologist meant to sound that alarm, “Understanding and Preventing Violence Directed Against Teachers,” brought only shrugs from the news media and public at large.

Among the things we don’t know is how many teachers and administrators are being cussed out, threatened or physically attacked at work. There is no uniform data collection of attacks on teachers by students or parents. The Missouri Department of Education, for example, has no such records, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

Of those telling the APA they were victims of abuse, 37 percent said they were dressed down, cursed or threatened by parents. “Teachers take a tremendous amount of verbal abuse sometimes,” said Claudette Johns, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the nation’s largest teacher’s union, the National Education Association [NEA, which apparently does nothing to address the problem since the violence continues unabated].

Beyond the lack of firm numbers on the scope of the problem, there is even less information on the underlying causes of abusive behavior directed at public school teachers, administrators and staff. How does socioeconomic status play in? Stress? Age, gender, race or ethnicity? No one knows for sure. The studies to determine that haven’t been done or are inconclusive.

Today’s parents, educators say, are more likely to lash out with verbal or physical abuse over just about any type of real or perceived mistreatment. Kids are also more likely to cross boundaries by showing disrespect and issuing threats – behaviors they have learned at home – because they certainly don’t learn it from school administrators or teachers.

Some educators point to youthful, stressed-out single moms with low incomes as being those most likely to heap abuse on teachers. “Babies growing up to have babies,” said Andrea Flinders, a classroom teacher for decades before becoming full-time president four years ago of Local 691 of the American Federation of Teachers [AFT], which represents teachers in Kansas City Public Schools.

“Our parents today are angrier,” she said, attributing that in part to their financial situations, as many middle-income families have left the district. “It’s this whole culture of poverty.” That and a lack of maturity. Many young parents lack coping skills. Rather than discuss their concerns, they act out.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Joyce White, who retired in 2010 after 38 years as a teacher and principal in the Kansas City district. “I think you have a lot of people being parents who have no business being parents.” [Can you imagine how these parents would have reacted to the stresses of the Great Depression that their great-grandparents endured?]

So, what is one of America’s largest and most influential school system doing? New York City public-school students caught stealing, doing drugs or even attacking someone can now avoid suspension under new “progressive” discipline rules adopted recently. Most likely, they will be sent to a talking circle instead, where they can discuss their feelings.

Convinced (by whom is not known) that traditional discipline is racist because blacks are suspended at higher rates than whites, New York City’s Department of Education has in all but the most serious and dangerous offenses replaced out-of-school suspensions with a touchy-feely alternative punishment called “restorative justice,” which isn’t really punishment at all. It’s described as therapy. “Every reasonable effort must be made to correct student behavior through…restorative practices,” advises the city’s new 32-page discipline code.”

“Restorative Justice” is neither restorative nor is it justice. It is a certification of irresponsibility – a license for mayhem. The term is classic deconstruction – the PLDC’s favorite weapon. If the students need therapy, they must have some psychological problem. But schools are not mental health centers – they are supposed to be learning centers, staffed with educational specialists – not medical specialists.

“Except everywhere it’s been tried, this softer approach has backfired. Yes, other large urban school districts are reporting fewer suspensions since adopting the non-punitive approach. But that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer infractions. In fact, many districts are seeing more classroom disruptions and violence — a national trend that ought to [but haven’t] set off warning bells for New York school officials.

What’s more, the movement — which is driven by new race-based anti-discipline guidelines issued by the Obama administration – and now we know – is creating friction between teacher’s unions and the liberal mayors they otherwise support. Politicians can praise the new system, but it’s teachers who must deal with the disruptive and sometimes violent results. ‘You have to have consequences.’ [Not in Obamaland.]

 In 2016, for instance, the Chicago Teachers Union complained the city’s revised student-discipline code has left teachers struggling to control unruly kids. “It’s just basically been a totally lawless few months,” one teacher told the Chicago Tribune.

 In June 2016, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the district, as part of a “Suspension and Expulsion Reduction Plan,” was “moving away from a zero-tolerance policy and promoting restorative practices.” Students who bully classmates can no longer be removed from classrooms except for the worst offenses, and only then with the consent of a district supervisor.

 Just as Mayor de Blasio promised last month in announcing New York’s revised discipline policy, Emanuel assured skeptics the more “holistic” approach — which he says addresses the “root causes” of bad behavior — would still provide “a safe learning environment.” But so far this school year, the Chicago Tribune reports students have suffered little consequence for infractions as serious as groping a teacher and bringing hollow-point bullets to class.

 In Syracuse, NY, meanwhile, teachers complain student behavior has worsened since the school district collapsed the discipline structures in favor of restorative justice practices. They say teens are more apt to fight, mouth off to teachers and roam the halls under the more lenient policy. They’re even seeing increasingly violent behavior among elementary school children.

 While the approach may be “laudable,” Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern said in a recent letter to the Syracuse Post-Standard, it has created a “systemic inability to administer and enforce consistent consequences for violent and highly disruptive student behaviors” that “put students and staff at risk and make quality instruction impossible.” [No kidding.]

 Los Angeles Unified School District is seeing a similar spike in campus offenses after its school superintendent followed federal orders [from the Obama administration] to reduce suspensions of African-Americans. Even threats against teachers are ignored, as administrators’ hands are tied by the new policy.

 “I was terrified and bullied by a fourth-grade student,” a teacher at a Los Angeles Unified School District school recently noted on the Los Angeles Times website. “The black student told me to ‘Back off, b—h.’ I told him to go to the office and he said, ‘No, b—h, and no one can make me.’ “I’m going to torture you. I’m doing this because I can’t be removed.” [This student is brilliant compared to the district superintendent.]

 Complained another LAUSD teacher: “We now have a ‘restorative justice’ counselor, but we still have the same problems. Kids aren’t even suspended for fights or drugs.” In neighboring Orange County, teachers are dealing with increasingly violent and disrespectful student behavior since schools there also switched to the restorative strategy.

 Recently mandated “positive interventions” have only exacerbated discipline problems in the largely minority Santa Ana public school district, where middle-school kids now regularly smoke pot in bathrooms — some even in class — and attack staff — spitting on teachers, pelting them with eggs, even threatening to stab them, according to the Orange County Register. According to a recent teacher’s union survey, 65 percent of Santa Ana educators said the softer discipline system is not working. Dozens of teachers have filed hostile-work-environment complaints.

 Defiance toward teachers is on the rise in Philadelphia public schools, as well, where talking circles have replaced suspensions. A former Philly middle-school teacher complains minority students act out and then dare teachers to kick them out of class, knowing full well their hands are now tied.

 Knowing there won’t be consequences, bullies control the classroom and disrupt lessons for all kids who want to learn. “The less we are willing or able to respond, the more they will control the classroom, the hallways and the school,” Zollman added in testimony before the US Commission on Civil Rights.

 The Obama administration welcomed this “Lord of the Flies” scenario. Thanks to talking circles and peer juries, “young people are now taking control of the environment,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan gushed in a 2014 speech to black students at Howard University. “It’s sort of a counterintuitive thing for many of us as adults, but the more we give up power, the more we empower others, often the better things are,” Duncan added. “And empowering teenagers to be part of the solution, having them control the [classroom] environment, control the culture, be the leaders, listening to them, respecting them — when we do that, wonderful things happen for kids in communities that didn’t happen historically.”

Reading these sentiments can lead to no other conclusion than that these people are, literally, insane and they are entrusted to “educate” our children. Instead, they are teaching thugs how to be better at thuggery. The key phrase is “… the more we give up power…” No sane progressive/liberal would ever contemplate giving up power!

 “Just weeks after “empowering teenagers,” San Diego public schools witnessed a surge in violent assaults. At Lincoln High School, for example, students reported frequent campus fighting. In just one recent month, there were several arrests, including one involving a butcher knife, according to local TV news reports. School officials confirm at least 16 batteries in just the first few months of the school year.

 Violence is still a problem in Oakland schools after officials there substituted such restorative counseling for suspensions on similar orders from Obama “educrats”. “There have been serious threats against teachers,” Oakland High School science teacher Nancy Caruso told the Christian Science Monitor, and yet the students weren’t expelled. She notes a student who set another student’s hair on fire received a “restorative” talk in lieu of suspension.

Yet the Obama administration held up Oakland’s new discipline program as a national model. Little wonder: Teacher training for the program, led by Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, includes sessions titled, “Race and Restorative Justice” and “African-Centered Restorative Justice Approaches.”

After spending millions on restorative justice and “courageous conversations about race” training, Portland public schools have seen their students only grow more violent. After a black high-school boy repeatedly punched his teacher in the face, sending her to the emergency room, the teacher, who is white, was advised by the assistant principal not to press charges. The administrator lectured her about how hard it is for young black men to overcome a criminal record. Worse, she was told she should examine what role she, “as a white woman” holding unconscious racial biases, played in the attack, according to the Willamette (Oregon) Week.

 A white sixth-grade teacher at a mostly black Washington, DC, school told the US Commission on Civil Rights she had similar “conversations” in which she was told that the bad behavior of black boys is mainly the teacher’s fault. “I have been encouraged to examine and question how my own racial dispositions affect my teaching and my students,” Andrea Smith testified.

 During cultural sensitivity training required of school districts under restorative justice programs, teachers are told they are largely to blame for bad behavior of black students because they “misinterpret” African-American culture. The training sessions, which often run several days, are led by civil-rights activist groups seeking “racial justice.”

 Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow and author, reports that one prominent consulting group is Pacific Educational Group. Sanctuary-city San Francisco-based (of course) PEG has collected millions of dollars from dozens of major school districts across the country holding teacher workshops designed to “achieve racial justice in our schools.”

 Among PEG’s workshops: “De-centering Whiteness in School Discipline” and “White Supremacy, White Privilege and Racial Oppression: Getting In On Courageous Conversations.” Here’s the course description of a 2013 restorative justice-related workshop, according to a PEG brochure: “Institutions are infested with token people of color and racist white people who uphold White Supremacy, causing a survivor mentality among those who encounter daily micro-invalidations, micro-aggressions, and micro-assaults in hostile environments. Though a historical overview, learn about the oppressive system known as the American Education System, a school system that was never designed for children of color.”

 Could a more racist statement have been constructed by this black-centric organization? Not likely.

 “At least two top Obama education officials have received PEG awards at national PEG conferences. White teachers are taught to check their “unconscious racial bias” when dealing with black students who act out. They’re told to open their eyes to “white privilege” and white cultural “dominance,” and have more empathy for black kids who may be lashing out in frustration.

 They are trained to identify “root causes” of black anger, such as America’s legacy of racism. Teachers are told to respect black “culture,” which is described as more “emotional” and “physical,” and to give disruptive students a pass when they curse and threaten them, because “African-American boys are demonstrative” and that’s just how they “engage in learning,” according to the Monitor.

 Talk about racism! This is the PLDC Social Manifesto in living color! Pun intended. When these “students” age-out of the public-education system, where do you think they will end up. Will employers sit down in talking circles with them? Of course not.  Many of these unemployables will then turn to crime and perpetuate the major social disrupter in the African-American community – too many young black males in prison. Next time: Can this problem be solved?

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