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Disciplinary mischaracterization fails students


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Administrative officials must more effectively create an environment where students and faculty are certain that incidents are handled fairly and honestly.

After recent investigations and incidences at Park, the editorial board believes a criticism of the administration’s handling of an alleged incident on Nov. 14 to be necessary.

An Echo investigation revealed the administration classified the situation as a general incident rather than a potential case of religious violence. Staff mediated a meeting between the two students involved in the alleged incident. 

According to recommendations by the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights advocacy group, a mediation session should not have been conducted because mediation empowers the alleged aggressor while diminishing the alleged victim’s voice. Mediation in such a situation also fails to recognize any potential wrongdoing on behalf of the aggressor.

We believe the investigation of the entire incident was not handled with the gravity it deserved. According to Section/File 413, “Harassment and Violence,” religious violence is, “a physical act of aggression or assault upon another group of individuals because of, or in a manner reasonably related to, religion.”

Based on these guidelines, the editorial board sees this alleged incident as an action of religious violence. The alleged incident was reasonably related to religion as a hijab is religious garment.

Even without intent, the hijab is a religious garment and thus the alleged action should have been treated as more than a mere incident. Because of this apparent misclassification, many of the administration’s subsequent actions did not effectively address the situation. This included the absence of Park’s designated human rights officer, Richard Kreyer, in the investigation.

Kreyer was not involved, which violates school policy as the human rights officer is supposed to be involved in all situations of religious violence. Additionally, school policy states the identity and contact information of the human rights officer must be “conspicuously posted.”

However, an Echo investigation has found the identity of the human rights officer is not posted in the Student Office. The editorial board feels the administration’s response lack a plan for future action.

Unanimously, the Echo editorial board believes the administration must aim to more accurately classify incidents according to their discipline policies and actively identify Park’s human rights officer.

Rather than promoting generalizations, Park must actively take measures to ease the tensions among students.

The editorial board feels this situation was not only handled poorly, but also that the administration, by failing to adhere to the school policies, disrespects both the students involved and the situation itself.

At the beginning of the school year, students indicated they would adhere to the policies as articulated in the student handbook. If students are expected to follow such policy, the administration should be held to the same standards. Echo suggests students ensure the administration follows policy as rules, not simply guidelines.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Disciplinary mischaracterization fails students”

  1. Marvshedlov on December 12th, 2016 6:11 pm

    Must every incident play the race or religion card? The more you push it the more the difference between people keeps us apart.

    [Reply]

The Echo intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet these standards. The Echo does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a name and valid email address submitted that are variable. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible. Please direct any further questions to [email protected]

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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
Disciplinary mischaracterization fails students