In a politically correct extravaganza of virtue signaling, the Portland, Oregon teachers’ strike has come to an end, and the agreement reached is enough to make any red-blooded American’s eyes roll. The deal calls for “restorative justice” to be provided to students who fit certain checkboxes. What ever happened to good ol’ fashioned detention and suspension?
— Marie Antoinette (@GuitarJPalumbo) December 5, 2023
According to CNN, the strike was finally resolved late last month, and part of the new agreement involves a team of psychologists, counselors, and social workers getting involved when a student misbehaves. That’s right, instead of facing the consequences of their actions, students will now be coddled by a team of hand-holders.
The folks at KGW-TV in Portland reported that in the past, middle and high school students could face suspension for at least five days for serious incidents of physical harm or threats of violence. But now, those mandatory suspensions are out the window, and students may be removed from class, but not from the school. What a slap on the wrist.
The school district claims that it is trying to address the issue of non-white students being suspended too often, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. The district’s Collective Bargaining Team even sent a letter to families last month, whining about how “Black, Native American, and other students of color are referred out of class significantly more often,” and how students receiving special education services also face disproportionate discipline. Cry me a river.
And get this, the new collective bargaining agreement requires that when a student exhibits “continuous disruptive behavior,” a “support plan” must be developed that can go as far as detention. And the factors they’ll consider in developing these plans include “the impact of issues related to the student’s trauma, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation.” What happened to the good old days of detention and a stern talking to?
Mandatory suspensions are out, and in their place, the potential for removal from class. The agreement claims to be all about “minimizing the use of exclusionary discipline and maximizing instructional time while repairing harm done within the school community.” But in reality, it sounds like a bunch of hand-wringing and excuse-making.
To top it all off, escalating violence or serious violent incidents could still result in removal from school. That’s right, as long as you don’t escalate things too much, it seems like you can get away with just about anything. What a joke.
Michele Exner, a senior adviser for Parents Defending Education, called the discipline policy “absurd.” And she’s right – these policies are not only absurd, but they’re also counterproductive and will only add fuel to the fire of the divisive climate we’re seeing in academic institutions these days.
This whole situation is enough to make any reasonable person’s head spin. Instead of simply disciplining students for their behavior, now the school district is bending over backwards to consider every possible factor that could be contributing to their misbehavior. It’s no wonder the world is looking at American education and shaking its head.