UN Panel Recommends Changes To U.S. School Discipline

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Above Photo: From PopularResistance.org.

A panel of experts convened by the United Nations has recommended changes to U.S. school discipline, including the removal of police from schools, to equitable treatment of black youths.

The U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent visited various cities around the United States in January, hearing testimony from experts and advocacy groups about equity concerns in areas like criminal justice, housing, and education. Those included student groups who’ve pushed for a reduction in zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools and a South Carolina student who was arrested for protesting her classmate’s violent arrest, which made headlines when a video quickly spread online.

“We were informed that across the country there are police in the schools arresting children for minor offences,” the panel said in a statement to the media after its visit. “The police have authority to detain, frisk and arrest children in school. Zero tolerance policies and heavy-handed efforts to increase security in schools have led to excessive penalization and harassment of African American children through racial profiling. African American children are more likely to face harsh disciplinary measures than White children. This phenomenon has been sadly described as ‘the school to prison pipeline.’”

The group said it was also concerned by reports of de facto segregation in schools, “under-funding and closure of schools that are particularly in poor neighbourhoods with significant African American populations” and of school curricula that doesn’t sufficiently cover “the historical facts concerning the period of colonization and enslavement.”

“This history, crucial in the organization of the current American society is taught differently by states, and fails to adequately address the root causes of racial inequality and injustice,” the statement said. “Consequently, this contributes to the structural invisibility of African-Americans.”

Included in its list of recommendations was a call to revisit school security policies and to abolish school policing. The group also recommended the repeal of misdemeanor laws like the “disturbing schools” law that led to the South Carolina student arrest, the prohibition of restraint and seclusion in schools, and more counseling for mental health issues.

The U.N. group’s report comes in the midst of overlapping discussions about how to best carry out discipline in U.S. schools. Federal data consistently show higher rates of school-based arrests and suspensions for students of color, particularly for black students. Some advocacy groups have responded by pushing for the replacement of classroom removals, like suspensions, with alternatives like restorative justice. But some have complained that districts have made such changes without providing educators with the resources to adequately carry them out, resulting in chaotic classroom environments.

And, while some civil rights groups say there is no role for police in schools, others have said concerns about overly punitive discipline can be addressed through carefully crafted agreements between districts and law enforcement agencies.

“We recommend the Government develop guidelines on how to ensure school discipline policies and practices are in compliance with international human rights standards,” the U.N. panel’s recommendations said. “Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and restorative practices in school discipline should be used for reducing disciplinary incidents and improving learning in schools.”

“The Department of Education should study zero tolerance policies and their disparate impact on African American students,” it continued. “A Taskforce should be created to specifically focus on realigning and reengaging students who have been dismissed from educational institutions as part of a zero tolerance policy.”

The U.N. panel heard testimony in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Miss., Chicago, and New York City.

  • gininitaly

    I’ve always thought of the UN as the Rockefeller’s global backup for the American Imperialist State….

    [Excerpted from The Rockefeller File (1976), Chapter 10

    The People Planners

    The Rockefellers learned nearly a century ago that there
    are two standard ways for one of their companies to absorb another corporation.
    If the firm to be acquired is much smaller, a "take over" is
    the simplest procedure: buy em out.

    But if the competitor is more your equal, a merger- "must
    be arranged".

    The same principles hold true among nations. No matter
    how much this country sends abroad as foreign aid, technical assistance,
    loans that are never repai4. or other largesse, there is simply no way
    another country -or even a bloc of countries- can be made powerful enough
    to take us over.

    Recognizing this political fact of life, the master planners
    devised the strategy of a merger - a Great Merger - among nations.

    But before such a merger can be consummated, and the
    United States becomes just another province in a New World Order, there
    must at least be the semblance of parity among the senior partners in the
    deal

    How does one make the nations of the world more nearly
    equal?

    The Insiders determined that a two prong approach was
    needed, use American money and know-how to build up your competitors, while
    at the same time use every devious strategy you can devise to weaken and
    impoverish this country.

    The goal is not to bankrupt the United States,
    we must emphasize. Rather, it is to reduce our productive might, and therefore
    our standard of living, to the meager subsistence level of the socialized
    nations of the world.]

    But you know lately… I’ve been seeing a little rebellion coming from those serf nations, now wouldn’t that be a pleasant change?

  • Dickard

    Schools = Prison of the mind. T.V. = Poison of the mind.

  • easywriter

    Well put!

  • gininitaly

    Oh the Rockefellers’ set up the agenda… I’m just ‘sharing’ it. Please feel free to do the same ;-).