As I noted in last week’s Racial Equity In the Twin Cities (there are links in that article to the two related articles that preceded it), the former Superintendent of the St. Paul Schools, Valeria Silva, bailed out of that district with a substantial golden parachute. I was not, in any of those articles, confident that even Silva’s firing was an indicator of improvement in school discipline policies, policies that have freed criminal juveniles to do virtually anything they choose within school walls. The invaluable Katherine Kersten, writing in the American Experiment, wonders as wll, in Will chaos reign in St. Paul’s high school hallways?
St. Paul public school leaders seem determined that chaos should reign in the district’s high school hallways. The school board’s contract for ‘school resource officers’ (SROs) is up for renewal with the St. Paul Police Department, and students demanded changes in cops’ role at the board’s July 26 meeting. According to the Pioneer Press:
‘The Pan-African Student Union at Central High School wants police to stop arresting students for minor crimes such as theft, fighting and drug possession. They say unnecessarily arresting teens is counterproductive, pushing students out of schools and into the criminal justice system.
School Resource Officers are certified police officers provided by local police or sheriff’s agencies. Their salaries are paid, in part or in whole, by school districts, and they essentially become the police department of a given school. In large, urban school districts with high school enrollment of 2000 and above–sometimes much above–they are essentially the police force of a small town, but a town particularly prone to all manner of serious, violent crime. They have offices on campus, and investigate all crimes committed by or against the students of their assigned schools. They also routinely visit classrooms and establish relationships with kids.
It takes little imagination to understand how vital SROs are in such schools, and what happens when they are no longer present.
Do we want to contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, or are we really trying to protect students?’ Central senior Saffiyah Alaziz asked the school board.’
So it’s now OK to steal, assault others, and use drugs on school grounds. What’s left to prohibit—murder?
Consider the logic of “senior Saffiyah Alaziz.” By not arresting violent criminal juveniles, students are somehow protected? Well, certainly juvenile criminals will be protected from the consequences of their crimes, and if they’re not identified or arrested, the number of violent criminals in the “school-to-prison pipeline will surely be dramatically reduced. Social Justice cracktivists like Alaziz and Silva would surely consider that a good in and of itself. What, however, of their victims?
From where will come their protection?
Unless we are willing to concede that schools should be inherently unsafe cesspools of crime and violence, where no student can be certain they won’t be beaten, robbed, raped, or killed at any minute, and where the very idea of order and quiet in classrooms conducive to instruction and learning is illegitimate, we must recognize that Alaziz and his philosophical fellow travelers are not only wrong, but dangerous
We reduce the “school-to-prison pipeline by ensuring that juvenile criminals understand that their crimes will be detected and that punishment will be swift and harsh. We reduce it by making schools safe, and removing drug-dealing, violent criminals. This, however, takes time and effort, and adult spine stiff enough to point out that it is not race that is being punished, but criminal behavior. Apparently such spines are in short supply in St. Paul:
At least school officials are taking a hard line, right?
Laurie Olson, security director for the school district, said she shared the students’ demands with the police department last week. She said the district hasn’t taken a position on the types of crimes SROs should enforce, but the issue merits discussion.
‘It absolutely will be something that we bring to the table for discussion. I can’t tell you where that will go,’ she said.
Consider that, gentle readers. The “security director” of the district cannot so much as say that it is the policy of the St. Paul School District to ensure that schools be an appropriate environment for teaching and learning. She cannot say that violent crime and drug dealing committed on campus by students is a bad thing that ought to be suppressed. Unsurprisingly, some parents agree with Ms. Olson:
Laura Jones, a parent of two district students and a proponent of restorative justice, thinks resource officers should focus on stopping threats to school safety.
That means minor crimes that take place at school, such as trespassing, truancy, theft, fighting and drug use, she said, would be ‘dealt with more appropriately in other ways’ that don’t involve arrest and prosecution.
Uh-huh. So non-enrolled juvenile trespassers present in a school to deal drugs or attack their criminal rivals should be what? Offered an opportunity for counseling? Kids so drugged in class they act out or attack others should be what? Given a “time out?” Kids assaulting others should be told beating others is not a nice thing? Notice that mentioning crimes of this magnitude inevitably means that lesser problems, such as insulting, ignoring, swearing at and threatening teachers, are tolerated. Kids can be certain that if they refuse to be quiet in class or choose to be disruptive in virtually any way, they’ll get away with it in the name of “restorative justice,” which in practice means letting black criminals do as they please to make up for supposed injustice toward blacks in the past. Kersten asks a particularly pertinent question:
Who’s going to “deal with” these infractions, if not police? The last time a teacher tried to stop a fight at Central High, he ended up in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury.
If anarchy in St. Paul schools is to end, kids’ behavior must change. But the folks whom the Pioneer Press calls ‘advocates’ of ‘a gentler, more lenient approach to law enforcement in the city’s high schools’ reject that notion. It’s cops’ behavior that must change, they say:
‘Chauntyll Allen, an education assistant and community organizer, said SROs aren’t properly trained to work with students. The officers get the same fundamental ‘Beyond Diversity’ training other employees get, but Allen said they need additional training in de-escalation, cultural relevance and dealing with children with traumatic life histories.
One wonders what sort of “traumatic life history” or “cultural relevance” excuses violent assaults, dealing in drugs, or felony thefts and other felonies? In such cases, the “de-escalation” consists of arresting the little criminals–many of whom are anything but little–and removing them from a captive community of victims.
Not a word about reforming the kids whose unruly behavior is making it impossible for the rest of their classmates to learn.
The recent firing of St. Paul Schools’ superintendent Valeria Silva was supposed to signal a turn-around in the state’s most dysfunctional school system. This latest insanity appears to dash any hope of that.
No kidding. Until the supposed adults in charge of the St. Paul schools can say, and back up, the principle that nothing is more important than complete adult control in every school where adults are, without question, in charge, and student misbehavior of any kind will never be tolerated, the St. Paul schools cannot be deserving of the name. In such institutions, there is little or no learning occurring, but a great deal of crime, community organizing, and social justice.
The Twin Cities, however, have long been entirely owned fiefdoms of the Democrat party with all of its pathologies. Parents concerned about the educations, and lives, of their children, would be well advised to move elsewhere. Parents elsewhere seeing even the slightest hint of this kind of insanity would be well advised to step on it, quickly and finally.