Posted by John Klyczek Posted on 28 February 2020

Socioemotional “Thought Crimes” in American Schools: Tracking Student SEL Data for Precrime


  • A study from Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studiesreported that “Black males were suspended more than three times as often as their white counterparts, [and] Black girls were suspended six times as often [as white girls].” Overall, “Black boys are disciplined more than any other group.”
  • The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports that “Black students with disabilities are almost three times more likely to experience out-of-school suspension or expulsion than white students with disabilities and twice as likely to experience in-school suspension or expulsion.”
  • The academic journal Sociology of Education published a data set which finds that “schools and districts with relatively larger minority and poor populations are more likely to implement criminalized disciplinary policies, including suspensions and expulsion or police referrals or arrests, and less likely to medicalize students through behavioral plans put in place through laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

To rectify such systemic racism built into the American school system, there is a growing call to mandate that “socioemotional-learning (SEL)” methods be instituted “across the curriculum” from the administrative staff to the classroom faculty. By tracking SEL data regarding schools’ “social climates” and students’ “socioemotional competences” in relation to ethnographic statistics regarding the rates of disciplinary and behavioral interventions for different racial groups across the student body, SEL promoters believe that they can calculate the algorithms which can rectify systemic racism in schools by evening out the statistical spread of disciplinary and behavioral interventions across the various races of the American student body.

When pitched as a remedy to institutional racism in the US education system, these SEL reforms might sound like progressive ways that schools can shut down the cradle-to-jail prison pipelines in African American communities by setting up cradle-to-college or cradle-to-career pipelines for “lifelong learning.” However, SEL data-mining across the curriculum is geared to incorporate education technologies that data-track students’ biometric and psychometric algorithms into psychological profiles which are filed in students’ permanent records to be aggregated into a Chinese-style Social Credit system that preemptively micromanages students’ disciplinary and behavioral interventions in real time. Even more dystopic, students’ SEL-based psychological profiles are primed to be tabulated into Big Data pools that are being aggregated for “precrime” predictive analyticsthrough “red flag” laws that utilize artificial-intelligence (AI) algorithms to preempt “real crimes” by arresting people for “thought crimes.”

In the final equation, “anti-racist” SEL reforms will only exacerbate disciplinary and behavioral interventions for African Americans (and other people of color) by using precision algorithms to pathologize even more student behaviors as misconduct that must be investigated and reconditioned by the “Thought Police.”

Big Brother Cares How Students Feel:

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)—which is a nonprofit corporation that is funded by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Institute for Education Sciences of the US federal government—SEL pedagogy targets five “socioemotional competences”: “self-awareness,” “self-management,” “social awareness,” “relationship skills,” and “responsible decision-making.” Guided by CASEL’s “competency-based education” (CBE) methodology, America’s hi-tech SEL lobby is aiming to socially engineer student learning outcomes by implementing educational technologies that scan students’ neurobehavioral algorithms in order to administer digital therapies which enhance the students’ socioemotional competences.

Corporations such as Microsoft, Neurocore, BrainCo, Affectiva, and Akili have all been developing wearable ed-tech devices, such as bracelets and headbands, that biometrically data-mine students’ SEL algorithms through the students’ EEG brainwaves, “galvanic skin responses” (GSR), and other forms of neuro-electrical “biofeedback.” By incorporating these SEL technologies across the curriculum and throughout the school administration, SEL advocates purport to eliminate systemic racism in US schools by quantitatively identifying when a student of color is inappropriately disciplined with respect to his or her neurobehavioral algorithms.

A whitepaper titled “Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens,” which was published by the Aspen Institute, recommends that schools audit their “social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD)” outcomes by “[p]roduc[ing] data analysis to . . . include student and teacher responses to school climate surveys, as well as discipline, attendance, and grades cross-tabulated by race of student and race of teachers to understand patterns at baseline.” Stated differently, this Aspen Institute report is advocating for socioemotional data-mining reforms that measure systemic racism in “school climates” by tracking racial-bias algorithms embedded in statistical patterns of unequal grade/discipline distribution across the different races of students with respect to the different races of teachers. In turn, it is believed that calculating such racial-bias algorithms will enable schools to “redistribute” grades and disciplinary interventions so that there is an “equal distribution” of grades/discipline across the various races of the student body.

On the other hand, tabulating such ethnographic SEL data can effectively reinforce racist patterns of school discipline by implying that “racial/ethnic minorities” are socioemotional “incompetents” who are in greater need of neurobehavioral reconditioning.

According to the RAND Corporation, “[a] substantial number of [SEL] interventions have been validated with samples that mostly consist of students who come from low-income families or from racial/ethnic minority groups.” For example, in 2016, a race-specific SEL study was funded by the Spencer Foundation, which awarded $149,995 to Deborah Rivas-Drake, who is Professor of Education Psychology at the University of Michigan. This grant money was allocated for Rivas-Drake to collaborate with CASEL to “promote competencies (e.g., empathy, perspective-taking)” by “examining the potential role of SEL in shaping youths’ ethnic-racial identity development” through “particular SEL practices in adolescent ethnic-racial identity processes.” With emphasis on such race-based studies, SEL data is being cited to suggest that ethnic “minorities,” particularly those from low-income backgrounds, are in special need of socioemotional conditioning.

For instance, a whitepaper entitled “A Review of the Literature on Social and Emotional Learning for Students Age 3-8: Outcomes for Different Student Populations and Settings,” which was published by The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance of the Institute of Education Sciences in collaboration with the Regional Educational Laboratory of the Inner City Fund (ICF) International, reports that “some researchers have found lower social and emotional competence and greater behavior problems among Black and Hispanic students than among White or Asian American students . . . Since social and emotional competence predicts later school performance, racial/ethnic minority students may benefit from having SEL interventions available to them early.”

By stressing that “racial/ethnic minority students” are statistically in greater need of behavioral interventions for conditioning their socioemotional competence, large bodies of SEL data are primed to empirically perpetuate the racist patterns of school discipline which preemptively target such “minority” students as especially “at-risk” for SEL misconduct. As a result, if ed-tech SEL algorithms indicate that a minority student of color is misbehaving, then his or her wearable SEL technologies will be authorized to digitally administer race-specific behavioral therapies to recondition his or her socioemotional competences in accordance with the “behavior problems” statistically associated with his or her racial/ethnic identity.

In the meantime, while the student is being socioemotionally re-educated, his or her race-based SEL metrics will be catalogued into a permanent psychological profile that can be linked to “social credit”databases which can be data-mined for precrime algorithms.

These Socioemotional Thought Crimes Will Go on Your Permanent Eugenic Record:

To put such racial SEL metrics into “systemwide” action, champions of socioemotional-learning are making the case for race-based SEL data-mining across networks of public-private partnerships between schools and various “community systems,” such as “Community Oriented Policing System(s) (COPS)” and “mental health systems.”

An academic article in the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation proposes that such public-private “systems to support SEL must be integrated across levels of prevention/promotion and treatment services . . . , across student developmental levels, and across school, family, and community systems” including “the educational and mental health systems.” In addition, this peer-reviewed journal article recommends that such “community-based” SEL “programs need to be tailored culturally to ethnic and racial minority children to maximize the programs’ effectiveness.”

One example of a “community system” already tracking SEL data is the public-private “Community Oriented Policing System(s) (COPS).” A case study of SEL data-tracking by classroom COPS programs is documented in a 2017 issue of the academic journal Addictive Behaviors, which evaluates a new Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in which schools are visited by a local police officer who “teaches social and emotional competencies such as decision making and resistance skills” that train students to “just say ‘no.’” This DARE project not only tracked demographic data of those students who increased their social-emotional ability to abstain from drug use; but it also necessarily tracked demographic data of those students who were socioemotionally “at risk” of becoming addicted to drugs. Obviously, the latter students could be digitally flagged and profiled as potential criminals or potential disturbances to the peace of the local district community.

As school-based COPS records compile psycho-behavioral profiles of socioemotionally “incompetent” students who are at-risk of becoming criminals, “personalized” ed-tech data-mining for “lifelong” community-based learning is getting geared up to take racial profiling to a whole new level.

In 2017, an article titled “Race/Ethnicity and Criminal Behavior: Neurohormonal Influences” was published in the academic Journal of Criminal Justice, which is affiliated with the Minot State University Department of Sociology in Minot, North Dakota. In this scholarly article, “[e]volutionary neuroandrogenic (ENA) theory” is explored “to explain race/ethnic variations in offending” which are purportedly caused by racial/ethnic variations in offenders’ epigenetic neurobiology [1]. According to this social science report, “among seven different racial/ethnic groups, blacks have the highest and East Asians have the lowest criminal involvement. Strictly social environmental explanations for race/ethnic differences in criminality appear to be inadequate for explaining these differences.  . . . [R]acial/ethnic variations in offending could be at least partially explained by ENA theory” [2]. In laypeople’s terms, this peer-reviewed article applies neuro-evolutionary theory to claim that criminal behavior is caused by the way a person’s racial/ethnic epigenetics have “wired” his or her nervous system.

It is important to note here that correlating criminal behaviors with racial/ethnic genetics is nothing less than eugenics: Francis Galton’s theory that the natural selection of human evolution could be enhanced and “sped up” through scientific methods of artificial selection which weed out “unfit” gene pools through selective breeding [3]. Adopted by Adolph Hitler, eugenics became “race hygiene,” which carried out the Nazi mission of exterminating “unfit” ethnicities through forced sterilization and concentration camp genocide [4]. In the wake of the Third Reich’s race-hygiene Holocaust, eugenicists such as Frederick Osborn, who was the President of the American Eugenics Society, went underground as “crypto-eugenicists” who would pursue undercover race-hygiene policies rhetorically hidden beneath “non-eugenic” labels [5]. In his 1968 The Future of Human Heredity: An Introduction to Eugenics in Modern Society, Osborn wrote, “[m]easures for improving the hereditary base of intelligence and character are most likely to be attained under a name other than eugenics . . . Eugenic goals are most likely to be attained under a name other than eugenics” [6] [A].

Now, in the spin-doctored name of “racial-social justice,” crypto-eugenic educationists are scheming to technocratically augment the biogenetic base of “intelligence and character” by deploying wearable SEL technologies that biometrically track “socioemotional-incompetence algorithms” in order to “hygienically” segregate racial/ethnic “minorities” into digital classroom ghettos specially programmed to re-educate the purported criminal tendencies of such students of color who have been “red-flagged” with “precrime” algorithms.

It is keen to note here that eugenics is itself the origin of the very notion of “precrime” detection, which is the purported ability to predict and thereby prevent crimes before they are committed. Popularized in the cinematic representation of Philip K. Dick’s short story, “The Minority Report,” precrime is a fundamentally eugenic concept inspired by the mastermind of eugenics himself: Francis Galton, who believed that criminal tendencies could be “predicted” by applying the eugenical pseudo-sciences of phrenology and physiognomy to measure crude biometrics in order to calculate statistical correlations between certain criminal behaviors and the “primitively” evolved cranial/facial features of racial/ethnic “minorities.” In fact, Galton statistically charted “facial criminal types” based on “composite-photography” analyses that correlated specific criminal behaviors with “generic” phrenological and physiognomic cranial/facial features which recurred across respective “mug-shot” photographs. Galton also devised the biometric method of fingerprint mapping, which he popularized as the very first biometrical method of forensic crime-scene investigation.

The eugenic criminological statistics of Galton and others, such as British prison doctors David Nicholson and James Bruce Thomson, were sponsored by Sir Edmund Du Cane, who operated Great Britain’s prison system under eugenic premises as the Prison Commissioner, the Surveyor-General of Prisons, the Chairman of Directors of Convict Prisons, and the Inspector-General of Military Prisons [7]. In addition, court records and police reports were compiled to document family histories of criminal behaviors across successive generations, and eugenicists cited these lawbreaking family trees as proof that criminal deviances are genetically inherited social behaviors which must be weeded out from the human gene pool through negative-eugenics policies such as compulsory sterilization [8]. In fact, Du Cane, who attended the International Prison Congress in 1872, published the first-ever criminal “registry” in 1877 when he ordered forced prison labor to print a “Black Book” listing “over 12,000 habitual criminals with their aliases and descriptions” [9].

In brief, the history of keeping criminal records in police departments and judicial courts is steeped in the history of tracking “dysgenic” family heritages in order to bar off “unfit” bloodlines from interbreeding with, and thereby “polluting,” the “fit” bloodlines of “civilized” populations.

How the “Thought Police” Will Use “Red Flag” Laws to Track SEL Data for Social Credit and Precrime:

Now, as “community-schooling” legislation conglomerates mental-health services with community-oriented policing agencies through public-private partnerships, crypto-eugenic ed-tech corporations are manufacturing biometric “wearables” that can be programmed for race-specific SEL data-mining of “at-risk” student bodies in order to digitally assemble “social credit” records to be “red flagged” by COPS agencies for the purposes of racially profiling potential precrime “threats” in the community.

If you think this dystopic slippery slope sounds too far-fetched, it should be noted that the precedent has already been set for US schools to criminalize students who exhibit “socioemotional incompetence.” During her 2010-2017 reign as Attorney General of California, Kamala Harrischampioned the passage of Senate Bill 1317, which criminalizes student truancy as a misdemeanor punishable by sentencing parents to jailtime according to the rulings of special “attendance review boards” that conglomerate school officials with justice department officials into a single edu-court bureaucracy.

According to Harris, who is now a US Senator, criminology statistics suggest that “[i]gnoring truant children is like tiptoeing over the sizzling fuse on a time bomb” which will later explode into gang activity and violent crime. As such, AG Harris enforced California’s SB 1317 on the premise that, if truancy leads to crime later in life, then the “precrime” of truancy should be preemptively criminalized in order to prevent the real crimes of gang violence which supposedly evolve out of the socioemotional misbehaviors of chronically truant students. On top of SB 1317’s revisions of California’s Education and Penal Codes, the Huffington Post reports that “[v]irtually every state has compulsory attendance laws and a long history of incarcerating parents—and even children—who fail to comply. A single county in Pennsylvania jailed more than 1,600 parents between 2000 and 2015 for their failure to pay truancy-related fines.”

This data-driven criminalization of school truancy has been labeled as “pre-carceration” (or precrime) by Allison McDowell. On her academic Wrench in the Gears blog, McDowell writes that, “[a]s a former Silicon Valley prosecutor turned faux-progressive policy maker, Kamala Harris embodies this pivot towards pre-carceration aligned to the interests of surveillance capitalism,” which deploys data-tracking ed-tech to streamline “the school to prison pipeline” with the “‘cradle to career’ pipeline” so that “the humanity and self-determination of Black and Brown students continues to be subordinated to the interests of transnational global capital” policed by “socioemotional-competence” algorithms.

While students who simply fail to attend school are being tagged as “at risk” for becoming criminals, President Trump has called for ramped up “red flag” laws that commission social-media companies to scan user accounts for “extremist” posts which implicate threats of mass shootings or other violent acts. To prevent mass school shootings and classroom violence, Trump’s red-flag laws could be specially task-forced to target “extremist” SEL algorithms data-tracked on students’ social-media accounts as well as students’ digital ed-tech learning platforms, such as online learning-management software, cognitive-behavioral adaptive-learning software, and even socioemotional biofeedback wearables (such as galvanic skin-response bracelets and EEG brainwave headbands). Once students have been red-flagged as “at risk” of violent criminal behaviors due to their chronic absenteeism or “extremist” SEL algorithms, those students will either be sentenced to behavioral interventions enforced by criminal justice officials, or they will be prescribed socioemotional-conditioning treatments diagnosed by mental health officials.

As “criminal justice” and “mental health” services are amalgamated into the US education system through “community-schooling” legislation, such as Sections 4622-4625 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the public-private data-mining of students’ socioemotional biometrics is primed to be aggregated into an Americanized version of China’s Social Credit System: a mass-surveillance system that uses biometric facial/voice-recognition cameras to track citizens’ public behaviors in real time while data-mining the citizens’ social media profiles, financial statuses, criminal histories, educational backgrounds, and other public records in order to digitally rank the people with “social credit scores” which determine not only access to loans and luxury items, but also access to employment, healthcare, housing, education transportation, online dating services, and even food.

It should be noted here that China’s Social Credit System is managed partly by the Alibaba Corporation, which is partnering with the American Salesforce Corporation that is run by CEO Mark Benioff, who donated to Kamal Harris’s 2020 presidential candidacy as she campaigned to ramp up her “soft policing” of the student body through socioemotionalcommunity schooling” reforms. In addition to partnering with China’s social-credit industry, Benioff is also invested in Nearpodeducational technologies, which cater “content personalization” through “adaptive learning” software and “virtual reality” programs. It should also be noted that Benioff has been a liaison with the White House Office of American Innovation: a presidential thinktank that concentrates on corporate-fascist political-economic planning through technocratic public-private partnerships which are quarterbacked by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now brokering trade deals with China as the US-China Trade Negotiator. Kushner also successfully lobbied for US prisons to be reformed through the First Step Act.

While Kushner and Benioff are flirting with China’s social-credit industries, China’s Sesame Credit System has been issuing punitive social scores that “blacklist” people who belong to “illegal social organisations” which the Chinese government deems to be in violation of “correct political direction.” One example of a “blacklisted” social organization is a Turkic-Islamic ethnic “minority” group known as the Uyghurs. Located in China’s Western province of Xinjiang, the Uyghurs are targeted by social creditors who operate detention camps that re-educate these Turkic-Islamic people by brainwashing them into self-censoring their own ethnic-religious identities in order to conform to the “correct political direction” of the Chinese Communist Party. Transfer this Chinese-style social-credit system into the USA, and instead of racially profiling Uyghurs, the US social credit system will racially profile African Americans and other ethnic “minorities” of color whom the United States government has historically mistrusted as cultural outsiders who are supposedly unwilling to assimilate into the American way of life.

In fact, the artificial-intelligence algorithms that will be programmed into the US social-credit system have already been proven to be implicitly programmed with certain racial biases, and these racist AI algorithms are already being used to convict and sentence US citizens who have been charged with criminal cases. For-profit software corporations, such as Equivant (formerly Northpointe), have developed “predictive policing” algorithms through AI computer programs, such as the “Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS).” According to an investigation conducted by ProPublica, “Northpointe’s [Equivant’s] assessment tool [COMPAS] correctly predicts recidivism 61 percent of the time. But blacks are almost twice as likely as whites to be labeled a higher risk but not actually re-offend. It makes the opposite mistake among whites: They are much more likely than blacks to be labeled lower risk but go on to commit other crimes.”

In addition to Equivant’s COMPAS, there are several other AI software programs engineered for predictive policing, such as the “Level of Service Inventory Revised (LSI-R),” which is developed by the Canadian Multi-Health Systems corporation, and the “Public Safety Assessment (PSA),” which is developed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation: a subsidiary of the Arnold Ventures Limited Liability Corporation. Like COMPAS, the LSI-R and the PSA have also demonstrated that their predictive-policing algorithms are racially biased.

By programming these racist AI algorithms into a national social-credit system of ubiquitous public-private data-mining that incorporates wearable ed-tech to track students’ socioemotional-learning algorithms through the lens of predictive-policing analytics, America’s eugenic legacy of tracking criminal histories based on race will receive a digital injection of steroids which “scientifically” justifies the precrime discrimination of certain races based on empirically measured neuropsychological metrics calculated with AI computers in the hands of technocratic school officials.

A Technocratic Prison Planet:

Don’t be fooled by crypto-eugenic SEL proponents who couch racial-hygienic social-emotional learning in the doublespeak rhetoric of a “social justice” redistribution of educational resources. This phony “SJW” SEL is nothing less than another version of Frederick Osborn’s covert eugenics which studies psychosocial biodiversity in order to draw crypto-eugenic statistical correlations between particular ethnic populations and their propensities to exhibit certain social behaviors, emotional temperaments, and cognitive psychological processes.

There is only one real difference between old-school eugenics proper and the “new” crypto-eugenic school of SEL biodiversity: the former interpreted ethnic-determinist biopsychosocial data with the rhetoric of racial supremacism whereas the latter interprets the very same genetic-determinist biopsychosocial data with the sugar-coated rhetoric of fake multiculturalism which pretends to emphasize the value of cultural biodiversity while it ultimately only stresses how different ethnic populations should receive different educational opportunities that streamline school-to-prison pipelines for “minority” students of color.

The result of this crypto-eugenic social-justice SEL will be more, not less, students of color who are tracked out of the school system’s cradle-to-college or cradle-to-career pipelines—and tracked into the cradle-to-jail/school-to-prison pipeline. Indeed, students of all races/ethnicities will face an increase of criminal-justice interventions and mental-health treatments for their “thought crimes” which will be algorithmically “flagged” by their ed-tech wearables digitally tracking their socioemotional biometrics and psychometrics. In the final equation, a technocratically automated school system driven by Chinese-style socioemotional credit scores will ensure that the United States retains its number-one rank as the country with the largest prison population on the entire planet.


[A]  Three decades prior, in 1937, Osborn praised the eugenic sterilization projects of Nazi Germany: “[t]he German sterilization program is apparently an excellent one . . . [R]ecent developments in Germany constitute perhaps the most important social experiment which has ever been tried”.


[1]  Lee Ellis, “Race/Ethnicity and Criminal Behavior: Neurohormonal Influences,” Journal of Criminal Justice 51 (2017): 34.

[2]  Ibid.

[3]  Daniel Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985).

Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003).

[4]  Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

[5]  Rebecca Messall, “The Long Road of Eugenics: From Rockefeller to Roe v. Wade,” Human Life Review 30 no. 4 (2004): 59.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Seán McConville, English Local Prisons, 1860-1900: Next Only to Death (London: Routledge, 1995).

[8] Arthur MacDonald, “Man and Abnormal Man, Including a Study of Children in Connection with Bills to Establish Laboratories under Federal and State Governments for the Study of the Criminal, Pauper, and Defective Classes, with Bibliographies,” Senate Document 187: 58th Congress, 3rd Session(Washington, DC: Government Publishing Office, 1905).

Philip Jenkins, “Eugenics, Crime, and Ideology: The Case of Progressive Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 51 no. 1 (1984): 64-78.

[9] Sydney Lee, Dictionary of National Biography: Second Supplement (Volume 1) (New York: MacMillan, 1912).

John Klyczek has an MA in English and has taught college rhetoric and research argumentation for over seven years. His literary scholarship concentrates on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel, Brave New World. He is the author of School World Order: The Technocratic Globalization of Corporatized Education (TrineDay Books); and he is a contributor to the Centre for Research on Globalization, OpEdNews, the Intrepid Report, the Dissident Voice, Blacklisted News, the Activist Post, News With Views, The Saker, and Natural News. His website is
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