Only Black Male Students Have to Attend School’s Special Session on Gangs and Thug Life

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas wants the Beaumont Independent School District to explain why a “Big 3 Conference” at West Brook High which included topics such as “Thug Life” was required only for African-American, male students.

Other topics at the March 29 session included “Gangs – Wanna Be’s” and “TYC – small percentage of rappers.” Requiring only black male students to attend “smacks of targeting students based on gender and racial stereotypes,” said Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas.

If the conference was such a good one, why wasn’t it open to all students, the ACLU wants to know.

“Our research indicates that African-American students across Texas are disproportionately funneled out of public schools and into the disciplinary system, leading to high drop-out rates and over-incarceration,” said Veronica Garcia, ACLU of Texas Litigation fellow whose work focuses on the so-called School-to-Prison Pipeline. “Any time students are targeted on the basis of race, it raises a red flag for potential civil liberties violations.”

The ACLU submitted its request for an explanation from BISD under the Texas Public Information Act. At most, the district has ten days to respond unless it appeals to the state AG that it shouldn’t have to explain the method behind its madness. – Margaret Downing

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