Radio talk-show host Jesse Lee Peterson recently delivered some bad news to his audience that he blames on President Obama and a liberal education agenda that has been forced on teachers and administrators.
In New York schools, he said, forcible sex offenses were up 90 percent over the previous year, assaults with weapons causing serious injuries were up 69 percent and assaults in general were up 40 percent.
In Peterson’s opinion, the problem began in January 2014 when Obama’s Education and Justice Departments issued new guidelines on classroom discipline.
The objective was to eliminate racial disparities in school discipline, as black and Hispanic students had been getting suspended and expelled at higher rates than white students.
The Obama administration threatened school districts with lawsuits and federal funding cuts if it found racial disparities in student punishments.
But Peterson, who is black, does not believe it’s the right way to go about school discipline.
“This is not a love for the children,” he said. “This is not about love and protection for the teachers. It’s not about what is right at all.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, on the other hand, has eagerly implemented the Obama administration’s guidelines in the city’s public schools. According to the New York Post, he has replaced suspensions with “restorative justice,” even for many serious infractions such as insubordination, fighting, assault and arson.
Consequently, the number of suspensions declined by about 9,000 during the 2014-15 academic year, representing a 17 percent decrease from 2013-14.
The New York Daily News also reported school-based arrests were down 27 percent from the previous year, and summonses made by the School Safety Division were down 15 percent.
That is not to say students are behaving better, though.
In a survey at a city teachers union meeting earlier this month, 81 percent of teachers said their students are losing learning opportunities because of disorder and violence in the classroom.
Gregory Floyd, president of the union representing school safety officers, said de Blasio’s slipshod approach to discipline is “grooming criminals.”
However, the de Blasio administration has touted the decrease in suspensions as a sign of progress. City schools Chancellor Carmen Farina even played up the racial angle, saying, “Reducing the need for suspensions and keeping our schools safe remains one of my top priorities – particularly for our black and Hispanic students and our students with special needs – and we are working tirelessly toward that end.”
But Peterson mocked the mayor’s attitude.
“So the mayor is bragging, ‘Oh, we’re not expelling kids, we’re not suspending them. Our kids are staying in the classrooms,’” Peterson said. “Never mind that forcible sex offenses are up. Never mind that assaults with weapons causing serious injuries have gone up 69 percent. They’re keeping kids in the classrooms and they’re proud of it.”
Last October, a student at Adlai Stevenson High School in the Bronx was caught with seven bags of marijuana, but he was neither suspended from school nor issued a criminal summons. Instead, a school official handed him a “warning card” that read, “Please bring this card home to your parent(s)/guardian so you can discuss the matter with them.”
Peterson, a WND columnist, said the incident shows the insanity of the Obama-de Blasio school discipline paradigm.
“So this boy was caught with seven bags of marijuana on him – a dealer, a dope dealer,” Peterson exclaimed. “And they give him a little card with a warning that says, ‘Take this home to your parents or guardians so you can discuss the matter with them.’ This is the public school system under Barack Obama. This is what we’re dealing with in America today.”
Peterson, author of “The Antidote,” believes black students who misbehave need to be disciplined at school because too many of them don’t have strong, authoritative parents at home to teach them right from wrong.
Some 55 percent of black children in the U.S. are living in single-parent homes, and 57 percent are living without their biological fathers, according to Fathers.com.
To Peterson, it is the lack of a solid family, not racism, that leads to black kids getting in trouble at school.
“These kids are angry, folks, because they don’t feel loved, they don’t have parents guiding them, and this is how the administration deals with it – calling it racism,” Peterson lamented. “What a sad, sad commentary.”