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It is perhaps not surprising that President Donald Trump and other conservative lawmakers would find a way to blame former President Barack Obama in some fashion for the Parkland school massacre.
Culprit Number 1: Federal guidelines issued jointly by the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education and a similar office in the Justice Department in 2014 “to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination in school discipline.” Also implicated is the Rethinking Discipline report issued in December 2016, just weeks before President Obama left office, promoting policies “to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools.”
The reasoning runs something along these lines: If school officials had turned in the alleged shooter to police while he was still a student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School then the massacre could have been prevented. The implication is that because the school had embraced alternative discipline practices promoted by the Obama administration, he avoided being arrested by police.
Getting less attention in the policy conflict so far is that the Obama guidelines are intended to discourage suspensions and expulsions. But Nikolas Cruz was actually expelled from the Stoneman Douglas school when he was a student there. It’s possible that if the school had been able to figure out a better way to help him deal with his problems short of expulsion — as urged by the Obama-era guidelines — perhaps the Parkland massacre could have been avoided.
Read the full article on Obama-era school discipline and Parkland by Louis Freedberg at EdSource