In the Parkland attack, we’re still learning, but agonizingly slowly. It’s common that information is flowing slowly, and particularly so because Sheriff Scott Israel continues to stonewall, bluster, and blame everyone but himself, but hey, he’s provided amazing leadership. He said so himself.
We cannot be absolutely sure of much of what we know and suspect at this point, but it is certainly possible–perhaps likely–the Broward County Public Schools, in partnership with the agency Sheriff Israel has so brilliantly led, had a direct hand in promoting criminality, even insanity, in children. Max Eden at City Journal explains:
Largely ignored is the question of what role Broward County’s overhauled approach to school safety played in the total system failure leading up to the massacre, in which authorities took no action on repeated warnings about the eventual shooter.
In an effort to combat the ‘school to prison pipeline,’ schools across the country have come under pressure from the federal government and civil rights activists to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and in-school arrests. The unintended consequences of pressuring schools to produce ever-lower discipline statistics deserve much more examination.
What Eden is omitting is these efforts to “combat the school to prison pipeline,” are prevalent in urban areas with enormous high schools. Without exception, such policies, which generally operate under the label of “restorative justice,” are introduced because the school’s black students–primarily male–are committing crimes in those schools-often felonies–at rates far exceeding their numbers. In fact, they commit most of the crimes of all kinds, and are responsible for most of the disciplinary infractions that make learning all but impossible. Rather than actually controlling the students, “enlightened” school administrators and police executives simply stop disciplining teenage thugs, which also means no arrests for misdemeanor and felony crimes.
In Parkland, and elsewhere, the serious discipline, drop out and crime problem was solved–by no longer disciplining repeat offending black students, and by no longer arresting them. With no discipline, the offenders aren’t being suspended and dropping out. Instead, they remain in school, making learning impossible, and terrorizing students and teachers alike, but hey, the statistics are dramatically improved, something about which Broward County Sheriff Steve Israel, in the aftermath of the attack, has bragged.
Florida’s Broward County, home to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, was among the leaders in this nationwide policy shift. According to Washington Postreporting, Broward County schools once recorded more in-school arrests than any other Florida district. But in 2013, the school board and the sheriff’s office agreed on a new policy to discontinue police referrals for a dozen infractions ranging from drug use to assault. The number of school-based arrests plummeted by 63 percent from 2012 to 2016. The Obama administration lauded Broward’s reforms, and in 2015 invited the district’s superintendent to the White House for an event, “Rethink Discipline,” that would highlight the success of Broward and other localities’ success in ‘transforming policies and school climate.
Oh, it transformed the school climate indeed: no one was safe, and adults were no longer remotely in charge, but the justice was certainly restorative.
Confessed killer Nikolas Cruz, a notorious and emotionally disturbed student, was suspended from Stoneman Douglas High. He was even expelled for bringing weapons to school. Yet he was never arrested before the shooting. In a county less devoted to undoing school disciplinary policies, perhaps Cruz would have been arrested for one of his many violent or threatening incidents. When Cruz got into a fight in September of 2016, he was referred to social workers rather than to the police. When he allegedly assaulted a student in January 2017, it triggered a school-based threat assessment—but no police involvement. The Washington Post notes that Cruz ‘was well-known to school and mental health authorities and was entrenched in the process for getting students help rather than referring them to law enforcement.
Apparently the “help” was of little help. I’m sure Cruz felt better about himself thereafter, however. It’s an issue I addressed during the Trayvon Martin Case in 2013:
Another issue readers might want to explore has been uncovered by the folks at The Conservative Treehouse, the BDLR-imagined wellspring of defense strategy.
They’ve uncovered, through FOIA requests, the fact that the Miami-Dade School District, apparently at the insistence of the superintendent–Alberto Carvalho–and with the collusion of Chief Hurley of their internal police force, were, during the time Trayvon Martin was a student there, deferring criminal reporting for black students. Due to a substantial minority crime rate–hardly surprising–a political decision was apparently made not to turn such students committing even felonies over to the police, but to handle them through school discipline procedures.
When Trayvon Martin was found in possession of multiple pieces of women’s jewelry and a burglary tool, he was not referred to the Miami police, and the case was written up as “found items,” essentially ensuring that in the name of political correctness, Martin would go unpunished and the victim would never recover their property.
On February 15, 2012, the school district made a press release:
Miami-Dade Schools Police (M-DSPD) was recently commended by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for dramatically decreasing school-related delinquency in Miami-Dade County public schools.
M-DSPD has the distinction of decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011, which was the largest decline in any school district in the state…
Well, sure, when you’re pretending delinquency doesn’t really exist and calling stolen property from burglaries ‘found items,’ the reductions in ‘crime”’you can accomplish are really amazing.
Consider however, that had Trayvon Martin actually been held accountable for what now seem to unquestionably be serious crimes, instead of receiving a slap on the wrist, he may not have been in Sanford that night. Ironically, treating Martin like a misbehaving child instead of the budding criminal he seems to have been, may have been a contributing factor in his death. But hey, the Miami-Dade schools are the very model of modern delinquency-reducing schools.
This is unsurprising. Many schools are actually loath to discipline students, because so doing is an inescapable admission that they actually have to discipline students. Many schools actually do as Miami-Dade did and do away with crime by ignoring or reclassifying it. Colleges are particularly bad about this, but many public schools aren’t slouches either.
Fortunately in the Martin case, the “help” he received from Broward County schools allowed, if not encouraged, him to live the thug lifestyle, which ended in his death, and the ruination of the life of his intended victim, George Zimmerman. The residents of Broward County and Douglas High School weren’t nearly so fortunate.
It’s an issue I explored in 2016 in St Paul Schools Change Course: establish Safe Environments–Naaaah!
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.
Again, we have no way, at this early point, to know whether Broward County’s insane “lack of” discipline policies directly contributed to Nikolas Cruz’s attack, but it isn’t a stretch to suspect they did nothing to prevent it.