Democratic Illinois AG Targets Schools for Punishing Minority Crimes

AG Kwame Raoul says enforcement of drug crimes, truancy is discrimination

A high school in Florida / Getty Images
June 9, 2022

Democratic Illinois attorney general Kwame Raoul launched an investigation into the state's largest school district for punishing minority students who commit crimes such as drug possession.

Raoul's office on May 18 began probing Township High School District 211 for civil rights violations after ProPublica, a left-wing journalism organization bankrolled by billionaires, investigated Illinois schools' ticketing program for students who have committed violations such as drug possession, truancy, and disorderly conduct. A student who receives a ticket usually has to pay a fine. ProPublica found that Hispanics, who make up 26 percent of the student body, have received around half of 120 truancy tickets, while blacks, who make up 6 percent of students, have received 10 percent of tickets.

Amy Meek, the head of the AG's Civil Rights Bureau, said districts can still violate civil rights law even if they do not intentionally discriminate against "certain groups of people," ProPublica reported.

Meek's office may be taking its cues from university activists, who have argued that grades and enforcing school rules are racist because of disproportionate adverse effects on minority students.

District 211 superintendent Lisa Small said in a statement that punishments are "implemented regardless of the student's race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or other factors" and that the police are involved only when an offender breaks the law or threatens school safety. Small told the Daily Herald that school disciplinary measures have been effective at mitigating drug use, boosting school attendance, and building positive relationships with law enforcement.

The Illinois attorney general's office did not respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment.