Wokeness As Social Disease: Charlottesville Schools Edition

by James A. Bacon

If you have any doubt that wokeness is the primary force responsible for collapsing discipline in Virginia public schools, eroding teacher morale, deteriorating learning conditions, and the educational impairment of tens of thousands of students, consider this story from Charlottesville.

After incessant student brawls this school year, 27 teachers at Charlottesville High School called a walk-out, effectively closing school for the day. Following an emergency meeting of the School Board, Chair James Bryant announced that classes would be cancelled Monday and Tuesday while students, teachers and staff planned a “reset.” Summarizes the Daily Progress:

That “reset” will be addressing a high school culture that many say has gotten out of control, with students roaming the halls during class time, instigating fights, disobeying administrators and even letting intruders into the school with the sole purpose of perpetrating violence.

The purpose of the “reset,” according to Bryant, is for staff to “return to our core purpose — offering a safe learning environment in which our students will grow and thrive.”

One staffer told the Daily Progress:

There has been a fight a week since the beginning of the year, often involving a roving band of students who refuse to attend class during the school day.

“Those 30 kids set the tone for the rest of the 1,400 kids in the school,” said the staffer who asked to remain anonymous as to not be reprimanded by the school. That staffer argued the disobedience can be traced to a lack of consequences for breaking rules.

“It’d be like if we had a speed limit that was 35 and everybody was going 60 but nobody ever got pulled over,” the staffer said. “Then they started seeing what else they could do.”

The Thursday brawls were so serious that administrators had to summon police to quell them.

If School Board Chair Bryant’s statement is any indication, the “reset” will be ineffectual. His words suggest no willingness to reexamine core assumptions responsible for the degeneration of discipline:

“The Board asks families to reinforce the expectation that students will attend class on time and will participate in all learning activities; in short, the student will be ready to learn. In summary, we want every child to succeed, but we can’t accomplish more for any of our students than the children want for themselves.”

News flash: Students from families most likely to respond positively to the call to attend class on time and “participate in learning activities” are not part of the problem! These students are collateral damage from a small group of undisciplined, violence-prone students who most likely have minimal parental supervision and whom administrators have been handcuffed by woke ideology from disciplining.

Disciplinary policies informed by social justice principles are a catastrophic failure. In the Woke World of Charlottesville Public Schools, any disparity in racial statistics is attributable to systemic racism. Thus, if African-American students are disproportionately likely to be disciplined for breaking the rules — an issue not addressed by school authorities or the Daily Progress — the answer is doubling down on the fight against systemic racism…. not cracking down on the kids causing the problems.

Adults have relinquished authority. Chronic misbehavers have learned that there are no negative consequences. Until negative consequences are implemented, any effort to restore order is a losing endeavor. As always, the kids who come to school motivated to learn are the big losers.