At the last regular school board meeting several accusations were flung around by members of the community and by various social justice organizations. I documented some of what was said here.
One recurring issue that was thrown out at the meeting by a music director from a local church and also by a former employee of the SPLC was that the district was engaged in litigation for discriminatory practices.
There is no class-action discrimination lawsuit against the school board for disparate disciplinary procedures currently.
Our attorney set the record straight at the meeting, and also provided a timeline regarding what has transpired with respect to these allegations.
Here are the facts: SPLC called the Office of Civil Rights and lodged a complaint against the ECSD for disciplinary practices it felt had a negative, disparate impact on minority students. The OCR has requested data, has come to our district and had several productive meetings, but have thus far not cited us for anything.
Now, SPLC and others wish they would find some wrongdoing, anything they could hang their hat on, but this has not happened. SPLC tried in 2012 to arm-twist us into voluntarily accepting an agreement like this one, an outrageous and ridiculous agreement that was rightly rejected by the board, superintendent and district on advise of counsel.
In January, the SPLC urged us to immediately follow guidelines issued from DOJ that essentially asked us to treat some students in a preferential manner when doling out discipline, so as not to overly suspend too many minorities. Again, so far as I know, this absurd, ridiculous request has been rejected as well. We don't need discipline quotas in school--it appears that's what Washington DC wants us to do.
Equal rights means we treat students equally, and mete out discipline equally based on one set of standards applicable to all. Equal rights does not mean we continue to bend over backwards like circus clowns to appease Eric Holder, the DOJ, special interests, and people that want to hurl accusations at us and accuse us of things we do not do, namely treat minorities with an extra heavy hand.
I have requested detailed data on how many referrals it takes to get suspended around here in the ECSD, and I requested if be broken out by race, gender, age, and infraction. These folks who love to throw rocks are going to see that in this district the opposite of what they think is happening is actually what is occurring; we are bending over backwards to keep minorities in school--in some instances giving as many as 39 discipline referrals out before we finally expel kids.
Data that is factual cannot be refuted, and the truth will set you free.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.