Commentary on Madison’s K-12 School Discipline and Racism Climate

Chris Rickert:

Billed as a question-and-answer session on the use of physical restraint of students and special education services in the Madison schools, a forum Tuesday showcased the deep suspicion many local racial justice activists have about the school district’s ability to serve children of color.

Brandi Grayson, who has been active in local Black Lives Matter and police-reform efforts, said she organized the event as part of a plan to create a “rapid response team” of parents who would respond to incidents of racism and abuse in the schools, record those incidents in a database and give parents of children of color the resources and know-how to sue local school districts.

She referred to a physical confrontation in February between former Whitehorse Middle School staffer Robert Mueller-Owens, who is white, and an 11-year-old female black student as a case in which the girl was “brutalized,” and said she wanted the youth in attendance Tuesday at the First Unitarian Society to “build analysis of how institutional and structural racism operates.”

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”