Leef’s latest Forbes piece ponders the misguided pursuit of ‘equality’ in school discipline

George Leef asks Forbes readers to consider the latest evidence of the Obama administration’s wrongheaded approach to “equality.”

[I]n January, his administration – specifically the Departments of Justice and Education – went even further with a “guidance” letter that demands a group equality approach to student discipline in America’s public schools.

If federal bureaucrats suspect that there’s any racial disproportionality in the punishments meted out for misbehavior in school, they will descend on the school’s administrators. Unless those officials can then prove to the government’s satisfaction (good luck!) that any differential in rates of punishment by race or ethnic group is “necessary,” the school will face the loss of federal funds and costly mandates for diversity training.

Most school officials would just as soon have a root canal as face a plague of lawyers from the Justice and Education Departments.

To avoid that possibility, they will probably take the safe route and adopt a de facto racial quota system for student discipline. As Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity recently wrote, “School officials will either start disciplining students who shouldn’t be, or, more likely, will not discipline some students who ought to be.”

Justice, which necessarily involves the proper treatment of individuals, will now take a back seat to statistics that won’t raise red flags.

This foolishness is yet another manifestation of groupthink – looking at society as a number of competing groups. Where a school official would be inclined to look at a problem student and say, “What is the appropriate punishment for Tom Smith, given my knowledge about him?” the groupthinker says, “Has the group that Tom Smith is in based on his ancestry had its correct share of punishments lately?”

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