Bolstered by a recent report from a coalition of civil rights organizations, Mississippi continues to excel in attracting those re-locators balancing the need for quality public schools with the desire to live near an unofficially segregated Waffle House. One of only 19 states that permits paddling in schools, Mississippi has long been a haven for parents looking to outsource the beating of their children to skilled public educators, and with the nation’s highest rate of students beaten by school staff, parents are assured the draconian laws so instrumental to their children’s success are and will continue to be applied liberally and lovingly.
The report highlights some of the unique methods utilized by Mississippi schools in recent years to rehabilitate students who engage in inappropriate behavior:
In 2000, what began with a few students playfully throwing peanuts at one another on a school bus ended in five Black male high school students being arrested for felony assault, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. When one of the peanuts accidentally hit the white female bus driver, the bus driver immediately pulled over to call the police, who diverted the bus to the courthouse where the students were questioned.
The Sheriff commented to one newspaper, “[T]his time it was peanuts, but if we don’t get a handle on it, the next time it could be bodies.”
More recently, in 2009 in Southaven, DeSoto County, armed police officers responded to an argument between three students on a school bus by reportedly arresting a half dozen Black students, choking and tackling one Black female student, and threatening to shoot the other students on the bus between their eyes.
In 2010, in Jackson Public School District, until a lawsuit was filed, staff at one school regularly handcuffed students to metal railings in the school gymnasium and left them there for hours if they were caught not wearing a belt, among other minor infractions. For example, one 14-year-old boy was reportedly handcuffed to the railing when he wore a stocking cap to class, threw his papers on the ground, and refused to do his school work.
Parents supportive of proposed measures to increase armed security in schools should consider the benefits of cutting out the middleman. Any private guard or police officer will require a salary, whereas the increased school arrests coupled with punishments typically reserved for prisoners seems to put more weapons directly into the hands of students – a formula that results in safer schools and BIG savings for Mississippi tax payers. According to testimony given by a juvenile judge from Georgia, a state that uses police intervention for minor school infractions in a similar manner:
The number of serious weapons brought to campus increased during this period of police arrests including guns, knives, box cutter knives, and straight edge razors.
Compare that to some crackpot Montessori school, where the only threat-deterrent regularly carried by students on campus is a book that’s maybe a little heavier than other books.
Innovative punishment structures aren’t the only attractive features of Mississippi’s Public School system. Those who demand that traditional racial disparity play a prominent role in classroom discipline should be comforted by the fact that students of color receive out-of-school suspensions at three times the rate as their white peers. With an extensively proven record, Mississippi has shown itself capable of providing a nurturing educational environment where black students are disproportionately removed from classrooms for minor offenses and school safety is maximized by an ever increasing presence of lethal weapons on school campuses.
In the realm of absurdly illogical educational reform methods, Yr. Wonkette isn’t sure how even a lunatic’s lunatic could follow that act!