This might be the most damning thing I have read in the aftermath of the mass shooting last month in Parkland-Florida. It comes courtesy of an exhaustive probe by a reporter with Real Clear Politics.
In 2013, the Obama administration’s Department of Education encouraged school districts in the US to adopt a well-intentioned policy meant to reduce the “school-to-prison pipeline” for young people. In essence, those districts were encouraged to NOT suspend or expel students with egregious disciplinary offenses. Also campus police were discouraged from arresting them for misdemeanor violations. The thinking was that if the teens graduated with a police record, it would be harder for them to find a job, get a scholarship, join the military, etc.
Broward County was one of 53 school districts in the nation to adopt new discipline policies based upon these guidelines. They went from having one of the highest rates of students arrested in Florida to having one of the lowest. The article above references this fact—along with the problems similar policies created in other school districts.
Surprise! When kids know they will not be punished for wrongdoing, they continue the wrongdoing. Who could have predicted this? I mean, apart from every parent in the world?
Sometimes an arrest is the best thing that can happen to a troubled teen. It may serve as a wake-up call. It may not. But without the disincentive offered by the prospect of being arrested, what possible incentive is there for the teen to end the behavior that got them into trouble in the first place? I cannot believe I have to point this out.
Based upon what we know about the prior behavior of the Parkland shooter (I refuse to repeat his name), he most certainly had been accused of some of the very offenses which the Broward County School District, by policy, was not reporting. There can be little doubt that such information would have appeared on an NICS background check when he went to purchase the AR-15 he used to kill 17 people. But it was not.
So, can we safely conclude that former President Obama’s policies regarding school discipline indirectly led to the deaths of 17 people in Parkland-Florida? We will never know with 100% certainty. But based on the evidence at hand, the smart money says “yes.” Thus is the legacy of permissiveness.
One thing IS certain. The NRA didn’t have a damned thing to do with this. If you still think they did, we have nothing further to discuss.