Discriminations blogs on an implausible accusation of discrimination against Glenelg High School of Howard County, Maryland. Here’s what happened, according to the WaPo article: A student refused to change seats according to his teacher’s new seating chart because “he wanted to sit next to his friends.” When he also refused to accompany an assistant principal to the office, the on-site police offer was called in. The student was then arrested because he still refused to leave the classroom.
I’m no fan of seating charts. Students ought to be allowed the small liberty of choosing their seats in class unless they demonstrate an unwillingness to do so wisely. Of course, a student adamant about sitting with his friends in class is likely paying far more attention to his friends than the subject and thus disrupting the class. As such, separation is a reasonable response.
The legal overreaction to the student’s misbehavior is a predictable reaction to the lawsuits filed against schools for physical contact with students. The teacher should have dragged the student out by his ear… or the cop should have forcibly removed him without the arrest. But such is not possible in today’s legal climate, nor perhaps should it be, given the compulsory nature of government schooling.
But were the school’s actions discriminatory? The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says yes for one simple reason: The student is Muslim. But as the very word implies, discrimination would require the unequal treatment of students based upon irrelevancies, e.g. punishing a Muslim student more harshly than a Christian. But this incident merely shows overreaction, not overreaction for some religions and not for others.
Unfortunately, Glenelg High School responded to the charge by appeasement:
Howard County school officials said yesterday that they will consider implementing a program of diversity and sensitivity training for staff members after meeting with parents and advocates for a 15-year-old Muslim youth who was arrested in school last week after he refused a teacher’s order to switch seats.
How about some insensitivity training for the folks at CAIR instead? They need to turn down their discriminat-o-meters, as they are getting too many false positives.
Oddly enough, Glenelg High School is the public high school that I would have attended if my parents hadn’t saved me from the hell of the public middle school. After a hellish 7th grade, they sent me to Garrison Forest School, a private, all-girls school outside of Baltimore, for 8th grade onward. It was incomparably better, both socially and academically.
People don’t believe me when I tell them that I would not now be opinionated intellectual if I had continued in public school. But it’s absolutely 100% true. The hatred and resentment of intelligence in public school would have killed my mind dead in just a few more years.