Alright – so, ever since principal Jaysen Anderson from Jefferson High School in Bloomington Public Schools suspended my child who has nonverbal autism and does not understand the concept of suspension for a behavior his autism teacher Kelly Morris caused, I have been trying to advocate in the world of education.
This week, I testified in favor of what little positive Gov Walz’s state education department added to hold schools accountable. MN House of Reps Education Policy Committee heard this bill. Most people were for this language except Mr. Roger Aronson. At first, I thought who the heck is this guy and why would any school official be against ensuring all students are treated equally and fairly. Then as I listened to his testimony, I realized it is people like him who are responsible for the horrible racial gap Minnesota has in education particularly suspending students of color and students with disabilities.
For example, the proposed language said, schools must first use nonexclusionary methods before suspending or expelling a student. Sounds perfect, right? well – not to Mr. Aronson. He kept saying “we need the principals to have…..wait for it….it is really good…..drum roll……the discretion to suspend or not suspend”. Are you kidding me? we are in this racial gap because principals discretions have been biased, subjective, racist and wrong.
I mean think about it. Principal – Jaysen’s discretion was to suspend a child with nonverbal autism who did not understand what the heck suspension is. Keep in mind that Bloomington Public Schools were part of the state’s human rights list of schools that have a yuky racial gap. Yet, this principal’s discretion and judgment were to suspend a nonverbal autistic child. Imagine that.
I am sorry but giving any discretion to principals like Jaysen is what created education disparity. I ask and beg state legislatures and the governor to NOT give any more discretion to the very folks who created this problem. The schools must be held accountable for their record and I would even add have financial consequences if they disproportionately suspend, fail or expel students of color and students with disabilities.
Minnesota Association of Secondary Schools – as white as vanilla.
Minnesota Association for elementary and middle school principals – staff are as white as Minn snow. Seriously people? These folks decide policies for our children yet no one looks like us.
Below are facts of how horrible racial gap is in Minnesota.
Why are Black students suspended and punished more even when their behavior is similar to their white peers? by NY York Times. This happened to me at Bloomington Public Schools who did not suspend when white autistic kids had a behavior but when black or brown kids did, they were suspended or sent to a segregated building. This pisses me off to my core.
Students of color and students with disabilities are suspended disproportionately – Mpls Tribune
Summary of the legislation by the state education department.
The whole legislation. Note: Asking school districts to use nonexclusionary methods before dismissal is article 2, section 6, line 10.2 to 10.7 (Ladies and gentlemen, unless we understand what happens at the legislature and to some extent Congress, our children will remain in disparity).
You can listen here and the suspension part is around 1:20 to 1:40. (my favorite part is Josh from EdAllies who simply rocks, omg he is fantastic!)
Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom