In a recent article, Manatee School District administrators are planning to host an event with the focus on reducing the quantity of Black students identified as emotional behavioral disability. The school district hopes to raise community awareness regarding the treatment of Black males in school as well as identifying community resources for students in need. The model for identification is insufficient because it requires an evaluation by teachers that are objective and not subjective as well as categorizing students for circumstances that are beyond their control.
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and/or teachers. For preschool-age children, this would include other care providers.
- An inability to learn which cannot be adequately explained by intellectual, sensory health factors.
- A consistent or chronic inappropriate type of behavior or feelings under normal conditions.
- A displayed pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
- A displayed tendency to develop physical symptoms, pains or unreasonable fears associated with personal or school problems. [34 C.F.R. § 300.8(c)(4)(i)(A – E)]
EBD is an emotional disorder characterized by excesses, deficits or disturbances of behavior. The child’s difficulty is emotionally based and cannot be adequately explained by intellectual, cultural, sensory general health factors, or other additional exclusionary factors.
- A child may be considered for placement in a program for children with EBD based upon an eligibility report that shall include the following:
- Documentation of comprehensive prior extension of services available in the regular program to include counseling, modifications of the regular program or alternative placement available to all children, and data based progress monitoring of the results of interventions
- Psychological and educational evaluations
- Report of behavioral observations over a significant period of time;
- Appropriate social history to include information regarding the history of the child’s current problem(s), the professional services and interventions that have been considered or provided from outside the school; and
- Adequate documentation and written analysis of the duration, frequency and intensity of one or more of the characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders. A child must not be determined to be a child with an Emotional and Behavioral Disorder if the primary factor for that determination is:
- Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction;
- Lack of appropriate instruction in math;
- Lack of appropriate instruction in writing;
- Limited English proficiency;
- Visual, hearing or motor disability;
- Intellectual disabilities;
- Cultural factors;
- Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
- Atypical education history (multiple school attendance, lack of attendance, etc.).
- The term does not include children with social maladjustment unless it is determined that they are also children with EBD. A child whose values and/or behavior are in conflict with the school, home or community or who has been adjudicated through the courts or other involvement with correctional agencies is neither automatically eligible for nor excluded from EBD placement. Classroom behavior problems and social problems, e.g., delinquency and drug abuse, or a diagnosis of conduct disorder, do not automatically fulfill the requirements for eligibility for placement.
The Manatee Public School District has elected to utilize an early warning system which includes monitoring academics, discipline, attendance, socioeconomic status and retention. It seems that each category is more subjective that objective.
The Manatee Public School District should refrain from using socioeconomic status as a criteria for Emotional Behavioral Disability (EBD) qualification. Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. In 2010, 28.4% of all Black persons are considered to be living in poverty. There is a great probability that many of the Black students in the Manatee Public School District will be considered for the EBD qualification process due to their economical status.
The other categories for EBD qualification have a direct correlation to the relationship between the teacher and student. It would better serve the Manatee Public School District to eliminate classroom racism by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships before continuing with their new initiative.
Matthew Kane, former Manatee High School assistant principal, resigns from Manatee County School District
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
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