A group that criticized more police in schools is now upset about school violence. Don’t expect it to realize the connection.
In February, the ACLU of Nevada announced that it is representing a Las Vegas High School student whose beating made national headlines. A viral video shows one girl come up behind another girl, who is sitting at a desk. The aggressor repeatedly punches the seated girl in the back of her head. The victim initially covers her head with her hands in a feeble attempt to protect herself. After a few seconds, her head falls limply to the desk. The attacker continues to punch her in the head. In all, she landed more than 30 blows.
One person, potentially a teacher, made a feeble attempt to stop the attacker. Her classmates, sitting just feet away, barely pay attention. The end of the video shows two boys sitting close by — masked and appearing apathetic. Another example of the foolishness of the culture’s war on masculinity.
Words can’t describe how horrible this attack was. The Clark County School District said the attacker was cited for battery. While the viciousness of the beating and the video may be unique, violence in district schools isn’t uncommon.
The district saw an increase in disciplinary issues during the first semester. John Anzalone, an assistant superintendent, said there were up to a dozen major fights a week at the start of the school year. This can’t be blamed solely on the pandemic. Violent incidents at district schools have been increasing for years.
ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah said he is “proud to stand beside our client and her mother as they seek accountability.”
If he’s looking for groups to hold accountable, he should start with his own organization and the policies it supported.
“More police in schools will only harm Nevada’s most vulnerable students,” ACLU of Nevada Policy Director Holly Welborn said in a 2019 statement. She was criticizing recommendations from the Statewide School Safety Task Force that suggested an increase in school police.
“Armed police presence unnecessarily brings more students into conflict with police and school staff” the group said in that 2019 statement. That “makes it difficult for educators to create a safe and supportive environment.” The ACLU of Nevada’s website currently bemoans “police-student interactions” in schools, because they “can lead to traumatizing confrontations.”
As it turns out, allowing students to disobey without fear of serious consequences is what undermines a safe environment, producing traumatizing confrontations.
Unfortunately, that’s been the district’s strategy for years. In 2013, a district working group looked at why African American students were more likely to be expelled and suspended. The group claimed that “bias” was the No. 1 cause for the disparity. The behavior of individual students wasn’t considered on the final list of fundamental causes.
To eliminate this disparity, the district pushed for fewer suspensions and expulsions. To the surprise of no one — but those so steeped in liberal dogma that they ignore common sense — incidents of violence skyrocketed.
It’s obvious what will stop violence in schools — police and discipline. If the ACLU wants to help, it should reverse course and push for both.