ACLU celebrates non-victory over school’s male-only policy
With crime rampant in urban areas, educators and city officials are experimenting with new approaches to steer young black males into constructive behavior and away from gangs. Their main opponent? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which insists on one-size-fits-all solutions.
District of Columbia officials in January 2015 launched a program called the Empowering Males of Color Initiative. From the outset, they faced opposition from the ACLU, which is apparently more concerned with stamping out the evils of sexism than reclaiming the lives of at-risk black boys.
This week, city officials got the upper hand, however, when the ACLU was caught misrepresenting the admissions policy of the district’s new all-male Ron Brown Preparatory high school.
Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, president of the ACLU’s D.C. chapter, said city attorneys told her on Friday that no girls have applied but that there is no exclusion of girls at the all-male school run by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), a policy change the ACLU has been seeking for months.
Wrong, the District Attorney General’s office said in a news release reported by the Washington Post. “Our office is disappointed that the ACLU has inaccurately characterized the details of that conversation. As DCPS has made clear, they have not made any policy change with regard to admissions to Ron Brown. Contrary to suggestions by the ACLU [the attorney general’s office] did not say that the admissions policy had changed, nor did our office say that DCPS has any plans to change that policy in the future.”
The Empowering Males of Color Initiative, a $20-million citywide project, is intended to “boost minority male achievement,” according to the Post. Black male urban youths, who are mostly fatherless, account for a wildly disproportionate percentage of crime victims, crime perpetrators, school dropouts, and drug and alcohol abusers in the District and other major cities.
In Chicago, now the murder capital of America, the ACLU handcuffed the police in August 2015 with a lengthy process for every “stop” they make and an end to “stop and frisk.” The agreement was reached following the city Democratic administration’s cover-up of a video showing the fatal police shooting of a young black man, Laquan McDonald, in October 2014. As the cops obey the ACLU pact by cutting back on routine policing, crime has soared in the Windy City. Since last January, the city has had nearly 3,000 shootings, mostly in minority communities.
In the District of Columbia, beset with its own persistent crime problem, the ACLU has been fighting the city over the Empowering Males of Color Initiative, arguing that it violates the D.C. Human Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Ms. Hopkins-Maxwell warned that if the city does not abandon males-only programs at the school and elsewhere, the ACLU will “exhaust all of our options, including a lawsuit against the city.”
The citizens of the District should insist that their elected officials stand up to this threat from a very well funded bully.
Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union.