Race-based discipline?


A 12-year-old African-American student faced expulsion and criminal charges for writing on a school bathroom wall. This Henry County, Georgia issue is a microcosm of an issue that dogs American school systems. A state legislator has taken up the banner and plans to pursue the issue. Check it out.

A January 2014 letter from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division  ignited a firestorm of criticism on the right when it called on schools to scale back “zer0 tolerance” discipline policies and urged them to deal with discipline issues without turning to the criminal justice system, where possible.

The letter also addressed racial disparities: “In our investigations, we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students,” the Justice Department and Education Department said in the letter to school districts. “In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.”

The letter was a non-binding advisory to school systems, but critics claimed it called for “race-based quotas” for discipline.

To read the AP story on the letter, click here.




Police pepper-spray 6-year-old

According to authorities, he was asking for it. And he was HUGE.

Pepper SprayHANCOCK, Md. (WUSA9) — Officials in Maryland say they had to use mace to subdue a “larger than normal” 6-year-old boy who had stabbed his grandmother.

It happened at 8:35 a.m. Monday in the 13700 block of Orchard Ridge Road in Hancock, Md., where deputies were called for a report of “an out of control 6-year-old” who had stabbed his grandmother and was attempting to stab his mother as well.

Read on.



Back to school special!

Back to school special! Kindle edition only $2.99! ($4.00 off reg. price)

Buy it now!


After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.


• “(What) Desperate Housewives wishes it could be.”–Indie Books List Book of the Month

• “acerbic wit.” – Publishers Weekly

• “Jonathan Grant just might be my new favorite writer. You want  to laugh? Grant writes with smart, sardonic wit. You want to be moved to tears of heartbreak or rage? Grant can get you there, too. And he does it all within a story that speeds along like a bullet train and keeps you turning page after page. Chain Gang Elementary might be every parent’s nightmare, but it’s a hell of a read, and I highly recommend it.” — Mama Zen, The Zen of Motherhood


Bake sales aren’t what they used to be


From the Wall Street Journal:

At Chapman School in Nebraska, resourceful students hawk pizza and cookie dough to raise money for school supplies, field trips and an eighth-grade excursion to Washington. They peddle chocolate bars to help fund the yearbook.

But the sales won’t be so sweet starting this fall. Campus bake sales—a mainstay of school fundraisers—are going on a diet. A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars.

Read more.