Apr 20 2007
06:46 am

The recent School Discipline study arose out of the finding that black students in Knox County were 10 times mre likely to be suspended than white students. I actually analyzed discipline data, school by school, by race, gender, free lunch status and offense. The task force did, indeed, find that free lunch status was a significant common factor.

However, if you read the report, you will note that, in spite of the finding about socioeconomic status, its recommendations included several about undoing racism, as well as establishing more consistent guidelines system-wide and helping parents better understand their rights to appeal.

The report was not a finding that racism does not exist. In fact, given our political climate and the makeup of the task force, the recommendations point to a recognition that significant problems related to race do exist.

It's very difficult for members of the dominant culture, and especially those who have a vested interest in maintaining positions of power and/or influence, to recognize - much less acknowledge - that the system in which they're successful might be discriminatory.

StaceyDiamond's picture

Knox Co. Schools

I was in Knox Co. schools 17 years ago and lucky I survived it. The same problems existed then, suspending kids for vague reasons and not giving parents info about appeals. That happened to me a few times and I was not technically what they would call an "at-risk kid." Those instances probably fueled my interest in politics but put me behind where I needed to be as far as preparing for college and life. If I had kids I don't think I'd put them in any Knox Co. school, regardless of the zone.

Carole Borges's picture

Poverty kills kids souls


Lack of good nutrition

Lack of health care

Having teachers from culturally different backgrounds with different ways of handling behaviorable problems,

Lack of attention sometimes by parents working like dogs for low wages

Despair caused by disparties

A feeling of being looked down upon no matter how bright or how good you are

Its a wonder really any kid survives all this. That some of these youth act up or feel hostile and angry should not surprise anyone with a still functioning brain. Their behavior actually has little to do with race. It's poverty and a million subtle prejudices that form the "bad" children. We throw them away because we don't realize "they" are "us" in the long run. A natural resource that should be preserved.

Ironically those who oppose abortion most often vote against any "liberal" effort to help these kids. They're pro-life when the kid is a zygote, but don't give a damn after it's born.

Nelle's picture


What Carole said.

The way I've heard your final statement phrased, perhaps only a bit more elegantly, is: Republicans' concern for life begins at conception and ends at birth.

Hence their utter lack of concern for the health of post-womb, living, breathing women when there's a fetus in the picture.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Teaching to the Child

A former teacher in Oak Ridge told me that the teachers participated in the Myers Briggs personality profile. The teachers had very similar personalities, which is why they teach best to children who learn like them.

This leaves many other children feeling inferior. I do not believe we can change the outcome of education until we recognize and identify the different types of learners. Then we need to create programs that focus on those needs.

As an adult who was diagnosed with ADD only a few years ago, I can look back on my education and see many missed opportunities.

My theory is that the discipline issue is tied to an education program that is not grounded in individual learning habits. Some people learn verbally, some by sight and others by doing.

I am one who happens to need all three.

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