Madison School District’s goal is not safety, it’s making the racial disparity numbers work.

While the Madison School Board considers expelling police from its four high schools, our classrooms are being disrupted in the name of racial equity. Large-scale student brawls disrupted all four high schools in the last two weeks, starting February 13, when 18 police officers responded to a brawl that injured two students (both required stitches) and a teacher. then on Feb. 21, the police officer on duty disarmed a student carrying a .22 caliber handgun at La Follette.

Unhappy with the disproportionate number of black students expelled and arrested, the school board adopted a complex, multi-tier Behavior Education Plan three years ago. Tonight (02-26-18) dozens of La Follette parents students told the school board that its feel-good program is not working, that the school is hostage to a small group of students who don’t want to learn. The La Follette contingent also testified that the armed student had once before been caught carrying a weapon in school. They wondered how many chances he gets before being expelled.

Of the many compelling testimonies is one given by La Follette student Caden DelaBarre, who is in his junior year. The young man repeated his testimony to your Squire.

He said “there’s probably not a class I go to unless it’s an honors class. There’s always a disturbance. When you add it all up, I’ve probably missed days worth of school because of disruptive students.” “Big fights, maybe once a week or once every other week.” He advises, “When there’s a disruptive student, remove them from class. Maybe give them a second chance but one student shouldn’t disrupt the learning of all the other students.”

Video duration: 4:47.

 

We know that the “zero tolerance” approach that relies on punishment does not work—in fact, it hurts students. Our approach is rooted in teaching and learning. We set clear, high expectations for students and we match that with high levels of support so that students can meet that high bar. If our school environments are to thrive, and if all students are to achieve at high levels, we need to have an approach that reduces exclusionary practices and establishes a more progressive approach to discipline …

Try as we might, we could not find updated statistics on the school district website.

David Blaska is a former Thompson Administration official, a Madison conservative, and the Lord of Stately Blaska Manor. This article appears courtesy of David Blaska and was previously published at Blaska’s blog.