Minneapolis School District Now Needs 'Permission' to Suspend Any Black, Hispanic Student



The Minneapolis public school system announced a major new district-wide policy for disciplining students: any suspension of a non-white student requires the district superintendent’s approval.

The MPS has been stung by reports that students of color are 10 times more likely to receive a suspension than white students. The Minneapolis school system has an enrollment of over 32,000 students. Seventy percent are non-white.

School superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, a black woman, maintains that she wants to “disrupt” the current suspension trends.

Superintendent Johnson says that her new policy is aimed at forcing local school administrators to deeply “probe” the reasons for issuing a suspension before that punishment is handed out.

Johnson claims that suspensions meted out to minority students were all too often based on behavior that would not have led to a suspension for a white student.

So to ‘balance’ perceived inequity in behavior (based on observed differences in outcomes), white students have had their equality in the systems formal process destroyed.

This is the new racism where ethnic differences are ignored and telescopic focus on


You left out the fact that the review process only applies to suspensions for non-violent reasons. Suspensions due to violence do not need any review. But it seems to me if 70% of the students are non-white, and therefore will have their non-violent suspensions reviewed, it would not cost that much more to simply review every such suspension (for the 30% white kids too), just to avoid the appearance of inequity. Such a policy would have just as much of a beneficial effect as the more limited review process, and be immune from the attacks like the one above.


I wonder how many suspensions will be “lifted” by review. It would be interesting to know.


They need to figure out why some children are getting suspended much more than others.


The details and rationales for ‘why’ don’t matter; they are racially discriminating. White students have a right to be treated equally in the process just as any other race or ethnicity does.

This is a bad precedent for bureaucratic practice and can come back to shoot many in the foot by their own methods/procedures if the simple principle of equality before the government isn’t enough for you to see how evil this is…


At my high school, it was rare to be suspended for non-violent reasons. We had in school suspension for disrupting the class, skipping class, insubordination, etc. The only one that I can think of would be drugs. If someone was caught with drugs they were automatically suspended and ended up in alternative school. I wonder what these kids are doing to be suspended, if it isn’t for drugs or violence.


I see what you’re saying.So you object to students being treated unfairly due to their race, right? No matter which race a student might be, they should be treated equally?


Where I grew up, students who posed disciplinary problems were suspended.

The critical issue is whether they should be permitted to make education impossible for students who are capable of learning. It’s a policy question similar to: What do you do when you have both drunken drivers and sober drivers on the road? The first order of business is to get the drunken drivers off the road. Race is not an issue.


If the reported rate of suspension between white and all else are correct (10 times more for all else than white) than something is obviously wrong and the system needs to be investigated to figure out if it is the system or something else. Reviewing all the non-violent suspensions (not just the all else ones) would be the logical step in figuring out what is going on.


Doesn’t seem racist to me, seems the original system was racist. It is being corrected.


It’s racist in that it is using race (all else) to determine an action and race (white) to determine an inaction. Taking a racist action to address a racist system (all else getting 10 times the number of suspensions) isn’t just.




It is more just than leaving things the way they are. I know the OP denounced the focus on the consequences as a means of determining injustice. It may not be perfect, but it is quite good as a red flag that something is wrong somewhere. To think otherwise is to accept the premise that black kids are inherently trouble-makers.

If the review process is fair and if all suspensions are fair, then having a review process changes nothing. Nobody is getting a “break”. But if some suspensions are not fair, then why wouldn’t you want a review process to reverse the decision? The only decent complaint anyone can make against this policy is that it leaves out white kids. So that if a white kid is unfairly suspended, he does not automatically get a review. But based on the numbers of those suspensions, it can’t be happening all that often. Still, it would be better for community relations if they were included anyway. I leave it as an exercise for the reader that extending the reviews to white kids would cost only 4% more than if the reviews were only for kids of color.


It’s using race as another criteria (in addition to the ones already being evaluated) to evaluate necessary punishments and/or suspensions. Not an action, an evaluation of an action.

Your complaint is like complaining that the police board is TRACKING why blacks are being arrested 10X more than whites in any city for non-violent offenses. TRACKING an action to see why the action is such compiles more information. Why wouldn’t you want to see the information and present it, wherever it leads?


-The action is the review of the suspension. The evaluation part is when they take a particular suspension and see what race the student is.
-What other criteria besides race is being used to determine if the suspension needs to be reviewed or not prior to it being enforced?
-And for the police board, if the police board is just reviewing non-violent offenses based on just the race of the offender, than that’s racist too.


So would you be satisfied if the review process were simply extended to everybody?


I think we pretty much agree with each other. The system as presented in the article is racist not because they are trying to address an issue (all else getting 10x the suspension), but the manner in which they are addressing it (only looking into the suspension of all else). In my opinion the proper way to deal with the issue of possible racism in the system (it could be something else) is, as you suggested, to review all the suspensions and see if the system is racially biased or if it is something else.


So to ‘balance’ perceived inequity in behavior (based on observed differences in outcomes), white students have had their equality in the systems formal process destroyed.

This is the new racism where ethnic differences are ignored and telescopic focus on outcome is used to justify** EXPLICIT RACIAL BIAS IN THE LAW OR GOVERNMENT PROCESS. **



Good. Suspensions don’t work. The only problem here is that all suspensions (white, black, etc.) should be reviewed by the superintendent.


I think it unavoidable that kids will be treated unfairly in one degree or another.

I object to RACE BASED DISCRIMINATION AS PART OF THE FORMAL PROCESS by any government entity in our nation.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.