New Hanover School Board to Choose Equity over Child Safety
The School Board is considering a change to the definition of “bullying” to include “Unintentional Bullying” in order to advance the goal of Equity. This additional bullying concept will make every child in our schools less safe. This is another example of why Equity fails and why I call for the removal of Equity from all school policy.
Equity is Designed to be UNFAIR
When we hear “Equity,” we think, “fairness.” But Equity is designed to be unfair. Equity calls for restorative justice. Restorative justice demands that past injustices be paid for with present injustices.
Now, instead of punishing the kid who’s hitting your kid, schools can punish your child for all the sins of American history.
Section B2 of Policy 4329/7311 says,
Harassing behavior may violate this policy even if no harm is intended to the target and no power imbalance is evident.
Many people remember their bully. Does anyone remember an unintentional bully? Or a bully who didn’t have a power advantage over you? This is absurd. To manage bullying, we must identify children who target weaker children. That’s what a bully is. Expanding the definition to include weaker kids who mean no harm gives cover to the actual bullies.
“Apparent Motivation,” Can Be Punished
Section B3 says,
Bullying or harassing behavior includes conduct that is, or reasonably appears to be, motivated by actual or perceived differentiating personal characteristics.
Once bullying is defined by perceived motivations, it can be applied to any conduct. Bullies will be the first to learn that this turns the accusation of bullying into an easy-to-use weapon.
The New Bullying Cannot Be Fixed
If my child hits another kid, I can correct that behavior. But if the school says my son, who has ADHD, appears to be motivated by perceived differences, how do I fix that? How can he understand that? How can he be held responsible for other people’s perceptions of his motivations?
And how does this help teachers? It’s hard enough to sort out who started it, now teachers have to figure out whose perception of the other’s motivations is correct? What standard will they apply to choose who’s in the right, and who’s to blame?
Restorative Justice Gives “Victims” Free Pass to Bully
In fact it will be very easy to choose. This policy serves the school system’s goal of restorative justice, which no one in this community ever voted for. The goal is a two-tiered system where designated “victims” get a free pass to bully, and designated “victimizers” get punished for their beliefs and the color of their skin.
A Dark Outlook Under Equity
This take on the meaning of this new policy may seem a bit far-fetched. It may be hard to imagine a situation where this one, small policy adjustment will radically change how all bullying cases are treated.
But the question of intent must be answered: why create a policy that could be exploited to create a two-tiered system of justice in schools at all? And the context of the policy must be taken into account, too.
The fact is, the entire system of punishments and rewards in our schools is being systematically geared toward serving the goals of Equity.
Equity is the Only Value Our Schools Have
Academic achievement has been sacrificed to Equity with the 50-100 grading system. Student leadership is selected entirely according to Equity, and operates solely to promote Equity. Equity is preached every morning to students during a new fifteen-minute period called, “Mental Health Check-In.” Students who don’t participate are reported on and referred for counseling. And under the new Title IX changes, the Title IX Director will have vast new powers to keep counselors, teachers, students, and even parents in line, if they do not toe the Equity line.
Equity is the order of the day. Every child understands this. Everyone will be sorted into one of two groups, victims and victimizers, and everyone will be treated accordingly.
Staff Will Now Participate in Bullying
The scary part is that when we were bullied as kids, the staff of the school was at least nominally on our side. We were safer in view of the teacher, and as long as we didn’t initiate any conflict, we could be confident that we would not be blamed.
Now the staff will paint the target on the children whom it’s OK to bully.
Revenge Does Not Equal Justice
No bullying policy should require the suffering of children to succeed. That seems obvious, but the current School Board just got it wrong. When elected, I will fight to undo this dangerous and immoral policy, and keep ALL our kids safe. And together, we will take our schools back.