05-21-2018  5:52 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Native American lacrosse teams leagueless in South Dakota

Travis Brave Heart was planning to spend his senior season this spring and summer tuning up to play college lacrosse in the fall. Instead, the 17-year-old standout from Aberdeen, South Dakota, is faced with the prospect of not playing at all.His Lightning Stick Society team was one of three Native...

2018 midterms show start of Democratic scramble for 2020

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie...

Black women look to flex power in Georgia governor's race

ATLANTA (AP) — This week's primary election in Georgia presents black women voters with a rare opportunity: To give a Democrat who looks like them a chance at occupying the governor's mansion in a Republican-controlled state.A Democratic primary win Tuesday for Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

Winners in the top categories at Billboard Music Awards

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A list of winners in the top categories at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, held Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.— Top Hot 100 song: "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber— Top Billboard 200 album: "DAMN." by...

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

Economic talks between US and China lead to trade war truce

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the...

In North Korea nuke site closure, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

4 years after coup, Thailand wearies of junta rule

BANGKOK (AP) — Four years after seizing power, Thailand's junta has a singular success it never hoped for:...

LGBT community cheers pope's 'God made you like this' remark

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' reported comments to a gay man that "God made you like this" have been...

Nurse dead in Congo as Ebola vaccination campaign starts

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A nurse has died from Ebola in Bikoro, the rural northwestern town where the...

Seventh graders Sarah Reusser, second from left, and Jayden Witter, right, discuss a recent conflict which they resolved through restorative justice, which included teachers and students gathering in circles for discussions, at Ed White Middle School, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in San Antonio. Philip Carney said that three years after starting a restorative discipline program as principal of Ed White Middle School in San Antonio, out-of-school suspensions have dropped by 72 percent. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AMIE STENGLE, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — The recent arrest of a 14-year-old Muslim boy whose teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb led to widespread ridicule of school officials and accusations that Islamophobia may have played a part.

It earned Ahmed Mohamed an invitation to the White House, where the Irving teen will attend astronomy night Monday. But it also got him a three-day suspension, which he says the district insisted he serve even after it was clear it was just a clock.

Ahmed's suspension — his parents have since withdrawn him from the school — reflects the rigid disciplinary policies that many U.S. schools adopted in the 1990s. But many districts, including some of the nation's largest, have been softening their approach, foregoing automatic suspensions, expulsions and calls to the police for one-on-one counseling and less severe forms of punishment.

"When we can't tell the difference between a serious problem and a non-serious problem with a kid in school, the problem is not the kid: It is us," said Michael Gilbert, who heads the San Antonio-based National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, which advocates a focus on dialogue instead of punishments.

The school districts in New York, Los Angeles and Denver are just some of those that have moved away from discipline policies that relied heavily on suspensions. State governments have also been taking action: This year, Connecticut limited out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students up through the second grade, Texas decriminalized truancy and Oregon limited when suspensions and expulsions can be applied to students up through the fifth grade.

Last year, the Obama administration asked schools to abandon policies that send kids to court, issuing guidelines encouraging training school personnel in conflict resolution.
"We're seeing a lot of change at the federal, state and local level that I think is moving us in a new direction," said Russell Skiba, director of The Equity Project at Indiana University. But, he added, "There are still a lot of schools that don't have the resources or are afraid to move to something else."

Denver Public Schools started implementing a so-called restorative discipline program in 2008. District leaders were concerned about the high number of suspensions and expulsions, which the grassroots group Padres & Jovenes Unidos pointed out were being disproportionately used to punish minority students.

One such student, Margarita Atencio, said her Denver school suspended her in seventh grade — before the new policies were fully in place — after other girls beat her up and blamed her for the incident. When she returned, she couldn't concentrate on her studies because she was afraid it would happen again. It did, and this time she was expelled, she said.
"I was just done. I thought since nobody was on my side that nobody cared about me really," said Atencio, who had to repeat the seventh grade.

Now 19 and a recent high school graduate, she has volunteered as a youth leader for Padres & Jovenes Unidos for three years.
Eldridge Greer, who runs the Denver district's Whole Child Supports program, said the school year before the policy changes began taking effect, there were about 11,500 out-of-school suspensions and 167 expulsions. He said last school year, those figures were down significantly, to about 5,400 suspensions and 55 expulsions.

Before the change, students involved in incidents like shouting matches would receive out-of-school suspensions, but nothing would be done to address their behavior, Greer said. Now, such students might meet with a school official instead to discuss the reasons for the spat and to try to address them.

Daniel Kim, director of youth organizing for Padres & Jovenes Unidos, said that while the change in school discipline policies is benefiting all students, there are still disparities in the punishment rates for minorities when compared to whites — especially for blacks.

Outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last month that suspensions and expulsions "track too closely with race and class."

"This is not just about explicit, obvious bias. Indeed, sometimes, when a genuinely transparent moment of bias arises, the whole country stops and takes a break. A child holds a clock. And we see a bomb," he said. "But more often, it's far subtler stuff."
After Ahmed's arrest, the police chief said there was no evidence that he meant to cause alarm. But the school district has declined to explain its handling of the incident, citing student privacy laws. A spokeswoman has said the district could provide "a different viewpoint" if given permission by the family to release his school records.

Dan Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA's Civil Rights Project, said his group's report looking at the most recent U.S. numbers found out-of-school suspension rates leveling off and racial gaps narrowing slightly.
Philip Carney said that three years after starting a restorative discipline program as principal of Ed White Middle School in San Antonio, out-of-school suspensions have dropped by 72 percent.

"We even got to the point where students are handling their own conflicts, now with us just observing and setting up the process," said Carney, now the restorative discipline coordinator for his school district.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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