As he ended his PoliticsNation show on Wednesday, January 8, MSNBC's Al Sharpton praised Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan for issuing guidelines pushing for schools to reduce "harsh punishment" of students, which the MSNBC host labeled a "national problem," and griped about black students disproportionately receiving discipline.
Although Sharpton focused on the portion of the guidelines that call for the police to be called less often, the guidelines also call for fewer suspensions and expulsions.
Sharpton plugged the segment: "Too many kids in America are being sent to court instead of being sent to class. Today Attorney General Holder made a strong move to end that. That's next."
He then began the segment: "Today Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued new guidelines for discipline in public schools. They're intended to make sure officials use law enforcement only as a last resort, and to stop the school to prison pipeline."
Then came a soundbite from Holder: "Effective discipline is and always will be a necessity. But a routine school discipline infraction should land a student in the principal's office not in a police precinct."
Without showing concern for how problem students adversely affect the learning ability of better-behaved students, Sharpton fretted:
Harsh punishment in our public schools has become a national problem. The New York Times says quote, "Children who are removed from school are at heightened risk for low achievement, being held back, dropping out or becoming permanently entangled in the juvenile justice system."
The MSNBC host then brought up one of his favorite topics, race, as he concluded:
And the Times says black students are three-and-a-half times more likely to be expelled or suspended than white students. Today's new guidelines by the Obama administration are a big step towards correcting these injustices. We must have fair and equal opportunity and we must have our children educated on an even playing field.