In a recent article, local Thomasville parents and community members had made allegations of racism associated with a new program that targets students who are in jeopardy of not graduating from high school. The program seems to enroll a majority of Black students. Thomasville Public Schools need to use the Raccelerate Racism Formula as a preventive measure for responses to allegations of racism.
According to the article, the Academic Recovery Program is designed “To reach that bottom quartile of students who are not successful at this point in their school career,” said Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett. However, a former Thomasville High School graduation coach, Dr. Marilyn McCluskey, says that the program sets some students up for failure. The school board responded to the allegations of racism by implying that during the development of the program, demographics were not taken into consideration.
What is the major factor that identifies a school that is consistent with allegations of racism?
The major factor to consider when confronted with allegations of racism is the overrepresentation of historically underserved students in the category of school discipline. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black students are more likely to be disciplined when compared to White students. The over discipline of Black students begins in preschool and continues through high school. In preschool Blacks represent 18% of the school population while comprising of 48% of the students receiving at least a one day out of school suspension. White preschool students account for 43% of the school population while comprising of only 26% of the students suspended for more than one day from school.
This pattern continues as students progress through school which can result in allegations of racism. Black students are three times more likely to be suspended from school when compared to White students. The average for White student suspensions is 5% and for Black students the average is 16%.
What are some of the teacher behaviors that can lead to allegations of racism?
Teachers discriminate against students by implementing differential discipline. Teachers with high percentages of Black students in their classroom are more likely to use an authoritarian classroom management approach. Teachers react to Black student learning experiences that are in opposition to traditional public schools by determining Blacks are incapable of following simple rules and therefore make rules that they deem intolerable. Teachers maintain this procedure with the mind set that these students want to be disciplined and have some order in their lives for a change.
Teachers spend more time looking for possible misbehavior by Black students, especially males, and are more prone to respond to Black student behavior by using severe punishments that include corporal punishment and suspensions. The differences between the teachers’ backgrounds that teach them to conform to preset externally fabricated rules and regulations and Black street culture tendencies to derive order as a situation happens cause teachers to resort to punishment for petty rules in order to force obedience at the expense of hindering learning.
Black students react to arbitrary and autocratic White teacher disciplinary assertiveness by believing that a White man is still trying to tell him what to do. Most teachers respond to students who attempt to act tough with them by threatening or talking back to the student. Whites attempt to minimize confrontations and struggles with Blacks in the persuasive process that they interpret as divisive while Blacks believe these struggles unify because they care enough to struggle for something. American societal beliefs that posit Blacks as inferior to European-descent Americans result in Blacks’ preoccupation and group focus on the concepts of freedom and equality. Blacks value group unity and focus on justice and fairness.
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 and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
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