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African American Coalition
Discussing the impact of racism on suspensions, Sherman Howell, vice president of the African American Coalition for Howard County, pointed to a 2015 report by the Justice Policy Institute stating, "Several studies have looked at the relationship between race, behavior and suspension, and none of them have proven that black students misbehave at higher rates."
He also quoted a 2002 Indiana University study that found that white students were more likely to be disciplined for provable offenses, such as smoking, vandalism and obscene language, while black students were more likely to be disciplined for more "subjective" reasons, such as disrespect, excessive noise and loitering. According to the school system data, the most common infractions that led to the suspension of a black student in Howard County in the 2014-2015 school year were "Attacks, Threats, Fighting," followed by "Disrespect, Insubordination and Disruption." Walker and Howell both suggested measures that the school system could implement to mediate the effects of societal racism on local school discipline, such as diversifying staff and expanding cultural proficiency training. "Because, you have some good white teachers, but they don't know how to deal with those young African-American males," Howell said. Teachers need to engage, empathize with and meet students where they are, Howell and Walker said, to prevent unwanted behavior and keep them in the classroom. Even if all these changes are made, Walker and Howell said, it will take a larger cultural shift to truly eliminate racial disparities in school discipline. "First of all, someone has to own racism, and it has to be the white community," Howell said.
Sherman Howell, vice president of the African American Coalition of Howard County, said it was "a shame" that the bill was being withdrawn
"It's very unfortunate that we have gotten to the point in the community where we can't come together and deal with one of the most critical issues in our community over the last 40 years," he said.
Sherman Howell, a member of the advisory group appointed by General Growth to make recommendations on affordable housing, said he thinks creating a multi-million dollar fund could be a successful way to address the shortage of housing for people with lower incomes.
Howell, the vice president of the African American Coalition of Howard County and a former member of a county government task force on affordable housing, said he liked keeping the responsibility on the private sector, rather than relying on government to handle it. Having the power of General Growth behind the initiative will help convince developers to get on board, he added. "There's always been a concern that the cost of land has been prohibiting affordable housing," he said.
Sherman Howell, a member of the advisory group appointed by General Growth to make recommendations on affordable housing, said the group has recommended lowering the income guidelines.
Howell, vice president of the African American Coalition of Howard County and a former member of a county government task force on affordable housing, said it should be aimed at people making $100,000 or less. Howell said he also thinks money that would be paid by developers into transportation and cultural funds should be shifted to affordable housing. "We're going to be ahead of everybody else," said Howell, who plans to move downtown once the new units are built.