Ever since the Obama administration told schools they would risk losing their federal funding if they didn't stop suspending black students, schools have become less safe.
The issue started in January 2014, when Obama's Education and Justice Department's issued guidance telling schools that racial disparities in school discipline amounted to racism.
The guidance seemed to be acceptable when we were told that black students were being suspended for minor infractions when white students were not. Cue justifiable outrage. But the results of this guidance (i.e., a purportedly nonbinding policy that threatened federal funding if schools did not comply) has led to fear in the classrooms and a dangerous learning environment in some schools.
The Supreme Court has ruled that racial disparities do not necessarily reflect racial bias on the part of administrators. But in cases where a black student was suspended while a white student was not, the Obama administration's actions seemed justified.
Schools, however, took the guidance and threat of lost funding as a requirement to bring racial parity to school discipline.
In New York, former Lieutenant Governor turned conservative policy commentator Betsy McCaughey reports that these policies have led to a 90 percent increase in forcible sex offenses, a 69 percent increase in assaults with weapons and a 40 percent increase in assaults.
"The [Mayor Bill] de Blasio administration is touting a dramatic decrease in school suspensions. That's only because the unruly students are allowed to stay in the classroom, continuing to disrupt," McCaughey wrote. "Last week, at a United Federation of Teachers meeting, 81 percent of teachers said their students are losing learning opportunities because of the disorder and violence."
McCaughey says that even some school unions aren't supporting de Blasio and the Obama administration's policies, with the president of one union saying the policies are "grooming criminals."
Everyone should support some standards in schools when it comes to discipline. A black student who starts a fight should not receive a different punishment than a white student who starts a fight (depending on obvious variables like if either student has started fights in the past, etc.). Likewise, schools in general need to do away with zero tolerance policies that often punish students for innocuous behaviors.
But racial quotas aren't the answer, and they're hamstringing schools from disciplining violent students in order to achieve racial parity in discipline.
That hurts all students regardless of color, because students can't learn when the threat of violence looms over the classroom. As McCaughey concludes, schools should adopt a "color-blind approach to discipline" and punish based on the crime, not the color of their skin.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.