Trump’s school safety commission is set to review Obama administration policy “Rethink School Discipline,” which assists minority students in evading disciplinary discrimination. While the policy has found some successes, conservatives perceive it as allowing troubling students to avoid penalties for their behavior.
The commission will check into a “repeal of the Obama administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies,” according to the New York Times.
The policy was originally filed by the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education, and was dependent upon the departments’ research on minority students who suffer from systematic discrimination in a school environment. It also proposes methods for schools to be vigilant about the ways they dole out punishment.
Sen. Marco Rubio used the policy to argue that the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, wasn’t disciplined by his school. But Rubio’s argument was shaky from the start, given that Cruz is white and was thoroughly disciplined through expulsion.
Per a White House report from December 2016, the policy’s goal is to “support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools” by advising schools to restrict how many suspensions they dispense. As reported by Bustle, the administration’s research discovered that minority and disabled students were handed more out-of-school suspensions; the policy also tried to help schools create a more inclusive atmosphere for students.
While the policy wasn’t a quick fix, the two issues have nothing to do with each other. One element that stands out is that a majority of school shooters are white. The U.S.’s bloodiest school massacres—such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland—didn’t have anything to do with students who were protected by Obama’s policy. Catherine Lhamon, Obama administration U.S. Education Department assistant secretary for civil rights, told USA Today that the issue of discrimination within schools “is completely divorced and should be completely divorced from how to address external shooters.”
Try telling Trump that, though. While gun control supporters hoped that the Trump administration’s new guidelines would address a higher minimum age for buying rifles, the direction it’s taking is “hardening” schools instead of strengthening gun control.