Column: Racism rampant in South Dakota schools

"Too often, we discipline American Indian kids differently than white kids. Some of them will overcome the discrimination, but some percentage of them will carry the scars of our society’s bigotry into adulthood. A comparatively high percentage of them will drift into alcoholism, hopelessness, and, finally prison, all because of things we’re doing to them right now, at your local school.

Both the Rapid City and Winner school districts are embroiled in controversy over disciplining Indians. Both are in trouble because of particular incidents with particular students, but both are under fire for having a pattern of disciplining Indians more frequently and more severely than non-Indians. You would likely find a similar pattern if you examined any West River school with a significant number of Indian students.

But the bigots are not the ones who think more discipline is needed for Indian students; the bigots are the ones demanding, and winning, less discipline for them. The discrimination against Indians happens every time they don’t get disciplined for breaking the rules.

The bigots say that because Indians are disciplined more than other kids, it must mean that teachers and principals are “out to get” Indian kids and are giving preferential treatment to the other kids. They’re arguing for a quota system."

Get the Story:
Alan Aker: American Indians mistreated in schools (The Rapid City Journal 6/18)