A recent editorial by the Baltimore Sun discussing school discipline and the paper’s endorsement of John Olszewski, Jr. may shed some light on a very serious and controversial topic for a number of reasons.
The Baltimore Post will attempt to examine some of those reasons.
There are two key elements at play in the Sun’s rendition of how to address the lack of school discipline in Baltimore County schools. We will counter the Sun’s editorial with our own concerns over how this issue is, in our opinion, being mishandled. We believe the Sun’s perception of violence in our schools is quite different from the reality.
The editorial starts off with this rather interesting, but not surprising, quote:
We absolutely sympathize with parents who complain about discipline problems in Baltimore County schools.
Discipline problems? That, folks, is an understatement regarding an ever increasing and serious problem impacting thousands of innocent children seeking an education without fear of being intimidated or bullied.
That opening statement sets up a rather shallow solution that should be rooted in a common sense approach:
But returning to old discipline policies that emphasized out of school suspensions and zero tolerance/zero common sense approaches isn’t the answer. Not only were those policies racially discriminatory in their application — and about this, the data are quite clear — but they also failed to solve the underlying issues that led to the discipline problems in the first place.
Those parts of the editorial read like a plea bargain court proceeding. They basically are saying, “We are sorry that your child has been hurt, but there are mitigating circumstances as to why no one should be held accountable.”
That’s the key word here, folks: ACCOUNTABILITY!
Actually, after reading the editorial several times, we found it hard to grasp what the Sun’s actual point was. We believe that elusive point can be found in this convoluted section:
And whom do suspensions help? They may remove a disruptive element from a classroom temporarily, but then what? They do not address any of the underlying causes of a student’s bad behavior, and they can actually make matters worse when the student returns by pushing the offender farther behind academically and alienating him or her more from the school. Removing a student from school can sometimes be necessary in cases of violence, but most of the time, it doesn’t help.
The Baltimore Post has been at the forefront in investigating these bullying incidents. We have yet to find one that did not involve some form of violence. In our opinion, the only way to interpret the above paragraph would be to suggest the fault line seems to imply that the issue is one of blame. It appears that rather than hold those directly responsible accountable, it is societies failures to cure this multifaceted affliction.
Without getting into more convoluted propaganda from the Sun’s editorial board, we offer the following summation that, in our eyes, tries to make some sort of sense out of this convoluted mayhem.
The Baltimore Sun has endorsed Democratic candidate John Olszewski, Jr. to become the next Baltimore County Executive, in part due to his background as a schoolteacher in the Baltimore County Public Schools system. While claiming to make education a priority under his administration, Johnny O, as he is preferred to be called, consistently avoids the topic of discipline in the county public school system.
The lack of school discipline is akin to any other societal problem. The Baltimore Sun presumes to blame society for every ill that is beset on those who choose to abide by the standards of conduct that have made this nation the greatest society on earth. Despite the Sun’s apparent efforts to blame those who follow normal standards of conduct, their logic falls far short of their lofty intellectual affirmations.
For a moment, let us leave the race card out of the equation and just focus on some real hard facts.
According to the Sun’s article, bullying in the BCPS system has progressively become worse than years past. Despite the editorial board’s attempts to minimize the impact of this problem, the following quote from the paper’s education reporter is in direct contrast:
Anderson is one voice among many parents pressing for tougher discipline for students in Baltimore County schools, which have the highest number of bullying reports of any large school system in the state — and the county’s reports are growing. These parents are speaking out at school board meetings and even going to Annapolis and Washington to add their stories to a national debate over whether the rollback of zero-tolerance discipline by Maryland’s state board in 2014, as well as Obama-era guidance, has made schools unsafe.
In closing, we want to share an email we received from Josh and Nicole Landers of the Parent2Parent Network offering a reaction to the Sun editorial:
“It is a profound slander against the most compassionate professionals in Maryland. Currently, state laws and policies are driven by the assumption that racial disparity in school discipline is due to racist teachers, rather than student behavior.”To reverse this process either…the federal government must repeal the 2014 Federal Discipline Guidance, a war in which the state and local governments must uphold their obligation to safe schools by restoring balance through implementing consistent objective discipline. This discipline must be based on behavior, not race.”
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