Racial imbalance in discipline at Summerville High 

Ain't Misbehavin'

Last week a group of black parents organized a protest outside a Dorchester District Two school board meeting claiming that a disproportionate amount of black students are suspended and expelled from Summerville High School. However, as The Post & Courier pointed out, that disparity is far from being simply a local phenomenon; in fact, according to statistics, "black students were suspended or expelled at a much higher rate than their white peers" both nationally and statewide.

Upon learning that Dorchester District Two's suspension and expulsion records mirrored the national norm, one of the protestors, Louis Smith, expressed shock. "We should be looking at another major civil rights battle," he said.

There is an automatic assumption by many black Americans these days that institutional racism must be the reason for any and all racial disparities, in this case, school suspension and expulsion rates. But could it be possible that black kids simply act-a-fool more than white kids?

When Brentwood Middle School teacher Elizabeth Kandrac was routinely harassed and cursed by black students, the white teacher's complaints to school officials fell on deaf ears. According The Post & Courier, Kandrac claims her supervisor told her "that's the way the kids are, I was told that [is] their culture, I was told to pick your battles, and I was told at a faculty meeting, if you have a problem with the cursing, this isn't the school for you."

After constant racial harassment by black students — including threats of rape and murder — Brentwood Middle School teacher Brandy Stokes also sought protection from school officials. Stokes, who is white, received the same answer from her supervisors Kandrac did, or as she explained to Bill O'Reilly, "The principal told me that I had to accept these kids' behavior. It was a part of their culture. It was the way they were." In her despair, when Stokes specifically addressed the threats of rape and murder, she explained the black principal merely shook her head and replied, "'Here we go again, another white teacher trying to bring these kids down.'"

Are kids at both Summerville High School and across the country being unfairly punished by a racist, national education establishment? Or are the comments of Brentwood Middle School officials indicative of the fact that there exists a cultural propensity for misbehavior amongst black youth that society is unwilling to address?

Bill Cosby seems to think so. Said the actor a few years back, "I travel the country and see these patterns in every community — stories of 12-year-old children killed in the crossfire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14-year-olds with a sealed envelope as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English."

But, unlike some of the parents at Summerville High School, Cosby doesn't blame white racism; instead he encourages the black community to "turn the mirror around on ourselves," adding, "[I]t is time for concerned African Americans to march, galvanize and raise the awareness about this epidemic to transform our helplessness, frustration, and righteous indignation into a sense of shared responsibility and action."

And Cosby is right. Any honest black advocacy group would be doing just that — taking responsibility for their own. But the truth is, today's so-called "civil rights" movement has long cultivated a mind-set that the continuing cultural, social, and spiritual damage being done to black America is never self-inflicted. This is what makes it impossible for the black parents at Summerville High School to even entertain the notion that their children might have deserved to get suspended or expelled.

This is called "having it both ways." When black kids get punished, it must be someone else's fault. When they cause trouble, well, you can't fault them for being black kids.

If the latter half of this double standard is true, I'm willing to bet there are probably more black youth who deserve to be expelled (like Kandrac's and Stokes' Brentwood students) who never receive proper punishment out of fear of accusations of "racism." And if there's any injustice occurring at Summerville High School or in schools across the nation, it's the poor environment good kids must continue to endure because too many grown-ups insist on being more obsessed with race than personal responsibility.

Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the "Morning Buzz with Richard Todd" on 1250 AM WTMA.


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