I want to expand on a short Twitter thread I put up last night.
The leadership at Covington Catholic has apologized for the actions of their students in Washington, and has indicated it is considering expelling them. In this case, expulsion is the wrong answer.
Why? Because it puts all the blame on the students, and none on the institution and system and adults that failed to teach them why those actions are wrong.
And, it is a quick way for those adults to wash their hands of the problem and make it go away. Expulsion is a cheap, easy-way-out answer.
Instead, what Covington Catholic needs to do is two-fold:
- Figure out a punishment that is both a punishment and a learning opportunity for those students. For example: Require them to apologize, then do a face-to-face interview with the tribal elder they harassed, then write up a paper on how the United States has treated Native Americans through the years, up to the present day.
- Design and implement a school-wide curriculum on racism, classism, and Othering. Bring in outside voices and insights. Make inclusion and diversity an important part of the school culture.
Covington Catholic, you are supposed to be an educational institution. Use this situation as an opportunity for learning and change, instead of seeing it as simply a problem to make go away.