Public schools in Portland, Oregon, must take certain things into account when they discipline students. Portland Public Schools will now require staff to consider the race, gender identity, and sexual orientation when disciplining a student who gets in trouble.
Fox reports this policy is the result of a collective bargaining agreement between Portland Public Schools and its teachers. The policy says the superintendent or designee will review disciplinary disparities apparent by the race, gender, special education status, etc. Now, repeated disruptive behavior from a student will get addressed with a "support plan."
AFN talked with Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, who says this is not progressive, but regressive action.
"The most progressive practices in American education right now are actually the most regressive actions that we could possibly be taking," Justice states – arguing there's no room for discrimination in America's public school classrooms. "But that is exactly what you're seeing here," she adds.
Justice says it's critical that children learn there are consequences for their actions.
"Why would the Portland teachers [or] the union there be creating different carve-outs for different children and not holding kids to account for the behavior in the classroom?" she wonders. "Black, white, girl, boy – whatever sexual orientation notwithstanding – none of these things should have an impact on how a student is disciplined when they do something wrong in the classroom."
Bad behavior going unpunished
Meanwhile, Fox also reports that Kristin Hills, a preschool teacher in Mendocino County, California, is finding it a challenge to discipline ill-behaved children while abiding with a state policy restricting state-funded childcare centers from suspending youngsters 3- and 4-years-old.
"It seems to me that there is a classroom management issue," Justice offers in response.
Under the state policy, teachers are expected to let the child's parents know if the child is misbehaving so he or she can be picked up. But then, other legislation creates more problems: teachers are not allowed to call parents to pick up the children because that's considered suspension due to legislation.
Other parts of legislation say teachers can't separate students from the classroom because teachers have to be with students. And in 2021, the state passed a bill that says students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade cannot get expelled for being disruptive or willfully defying authority.
Justice advises that teachers unions reach out to legislators and let them know that the laws they're passing are making it harder to teach. "The time is now, especially in these early grades, to really let kids learn how to behave in a classroom," she concludes.