Recent developments reveal that the Marysville High School officials may have over disciplined Jaylen Fryberg which could possibly be the link to the shooting. In recent development is has been reported that Jaylen was involved in a fight during a football practice. Allegedly, Jaylen responded to a racial slur spoken to him by another student. Jaylen broke the students nose during the fisticuff.

After, the fight the first thing that might have happened was that the coach screamed at him and kicked Jaylen Fryberg off the team. The child who said the racial slur probably received medical attention and was comforted for his act and did not receive any type of consequence for the racial slur. The Racial Slur Database reports numerous slurs that could have been offensive to Jaylen Fryberg.

The next step was for Jaylen Fryberg to receive some type of consequence from the school administrators. Fighting normally warrants a school suspension for several days.

After the suspension there was probably looming litigation because he broke the child’s nose. With possible damages added to the offense, the parents where probably outraged that their child had suffered at the hands of an American Indian.

While Jaylen Fryberg was once the apple of his teachers eye he was now considered the villain. Teachers talk about children and when they talked about Jaylen after the fight he no longer had their favor. He was probably treated as one of the lowest citizens in the school. He could no longer get the special privileges that he was afforded in the past because of his popularity.

Then Jaylen’s friends and some family turned against him. His once true love turned her back on him and traded him in for his cousin. They probably ostracized him and no longer wanted to be identified with a student who is now considered a loser.

Because of a racial slur Jaylen Fryberg was disciplined excessively by the school administration, ostracized by the school faculty and by the people he endeared the most, friends and families.

The drop that Jaylen Fryberg took is paramount to being pushed off a cliff without a parachute and your body being scuffed on the mountain as you fall to your death.

The real question becomes is the Marysville Public School liable for the Jaylen Fryberg shooting if he was over disciplined? Students do not lose their constitutional rights upon entering the doors of a school. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall … be subject for the same offence [sic] to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This provision, known as the Double Jeopardy Clause, prohibits state and federal governments from prosecuting individuals for the same crime on more than one occasion, or imposing more than one punishment for a single offense. Each of the 50 states offers similar protection through its own constitution, statutes, and Common Law. While the Marysville Public School District is not the state or federal government, they could be paralleled to those entities because they represent the state by providing services to the local community.

Another point to contend with is the impact of over disciplining students. The zero-discipline policy that was probably used by the Marysville Public School District has proven to be ineffective and tends to make the over disciplined youth susceptible to incarceration.

The Marysville Public Schools as well as other schools should employ the following strategies.

  • Provide students one consequence per infraction. In the case of Jaylen Fryberg I would have suspended him for three days for the fight. Upon returning from his suspension, he would have been reinstated to the football team and allowed to participate in the homecoming activities as the Homecoming Prince.
  • Suspend the instigator. I would have suspended the child who directed the racial slur at Jaylen Fryberg. This will make the school polices look as though they are fair and not based on racism. Once the instigator returns to school, he would have been reinstated to the football team as well as any other activities that he was qualified for.
  • The day that both students return to school, they would have been required to attend a conference between both students and the parents of the students. We would review the rules of behavior and outline the elevated consequences if this type of incident happened again.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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3 thoughts on “Did School Discipline Lead to Jaylen Fryberg Shooting?”

    1. A lot of times we want to punish the student who won the fight. I believe that you punish both, then it can not be said that you have a bias. Also the children realize that it is more important to just walk away and report the problem to an adult.

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