Expelled from school because of their skin color: the harsh reality of African American students in the United States

by Audrey-Anne J. on October 27, 2014 - 9:53pm

 

The article “For Black Students the School to Prison Pipeline Is in Higher Gear Than Ever” published in the Huffington Post on October 24th by Earl Ofari Hutchinson denounces an issue that schools in the United States deal with. Many students are being expelled from public elementary and high school. The issue is that the majority of those students are African American. Sometimes they are also arrested. Teachers call quickly the police for problems that once only needed the help of the principal of the school or that could be solved by talking to the parent of the student. For a white student, teachers usually stay with this classic intervention. 70% of African American students have been reported to the police by a teacher. The author states two major reasons why. The first is because of the Federal Gun-Free Schools Act, which is an act that banishes students from being armed and results in an automatic expulsion of any students carrying a weapon in school. This act has changed since it was first established in 1994 and now it punishes students who commit violent acts too. The second reason is the racist thoughts of the staff of the school. Many of them are scared and they associate black students with gangs and violence. They believe that black students are more likely to be violent compared to white students.  However, many of those students are not arrested for violent crime like robbery or assault. They are often arrested because they make too much noise or because they loiter in public spaces.

 

 

The author does a great job at denouncing the problem and the article calls the injustices in the schooling system to mind. It is not fair for the students to be judged like that by their teacher; the person they should look up to and trust. In my opinion, a teacher should be there to promote the respect of the differences and to value acceptance of the peers. By misjudging the student and by calling the police every time an African American student makes troubles, the teacher does not act like a role model. Unfortunately, if the other students in the class are young, many of them will think that it is the right way to act and the unreasonable fears will continue to grow. This can be viewed as new racism. It happens on a day to day basis and it is more subtle. At first glance, people might not see it as racism, because most of them associate racism with the segregation, when African American were beaten down and physically intimidated. However, a little comment can hurt as much as a fist. On a total other order of idea, it reminds me of the unfair treatment Aboriginals people experience when they go to the hospital. We learned in class that they too are judged by people who should not be biased: doctors. Because of the racist thoughts of the doctors and nurses, many of them do not receive the correct treatment and sometimes it leads to complications. Many of them also do not feel the need to go to the hospital anymore, because they do not feel welcomed there. What if the African American students do the same thing and stop going to school because they do not feel accepted. Is there a link between the drop-out rates and racism?

Reference

         Hutchinson, E.O. ( 2014). For Black Students the School to Prison Pipeline Is in Higher Gear Than Ever. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/for-black-students-t...

 

 

 

 

Comments

I totally agree with this author, because the subject of African Americans being expelled from schools is such a huge problem in our society. So many years ago, black people weren’t aloud to go to school with white people. What’s currently happening now? And I should say that we are at the year 2014 and racism is still going on. Wow! Just thinking of the word racism makes me real sick to know that it’s still happening today. Where’s our equal freedom, and equal rights at? Is it in the garbage? Because that’s what its looking like. I’m white, just to clear everything up, and I have black friends who are like the nicest people you’ll ever meet. When we talk to each other and they say to me that they have experienced racism from teachers at school, it makes me really sick and terrifying to hear what they have to say. The part that I could never understand is about the teachers. What are the problems with our teachers at school? Just thinking that they call the cops when they notice a black kid is doing something wrong is making me think what’s wrong with our society? I’m asking to myself, is it really this devastating? Well I guess so, if we are coming to this conclusion of African Americans are getting expelled because of their skin colour. Teachers are obviously overthinking and are going crazy because you don’t see teachers call cops on white kids, so why call the cops on black kids? Why, because they are in a gang, or they are carrying a weapon? The famous quote “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” relates to this because teachers are automatically judging that black people are involved in a gang or carry weapons all the time. But this is not the case, don’t look at black people and think that they are criminals, just because of their skin colour.
This link will provide you, that black people should not be seen as criminals just because of their skin colour. http://allenbwest.com/2014/08/angela-west-acting-white-asking-black-peop...

I really like how you kept me interested in your writing by stating the facts and you seem to make well informed opinions and thoughts on the issue at hand.
I was vaguely aware of the situation where black students were being expelled from school and being called on by their teachers to the police for minor and manageable situations (that do not need the assistance of the police). But I never thought it was a huge problem, therefore I never particularly searched for more information about this area of racism. I had originally thought that it was just a few independent cases in which situations have gone to such drastic measures where students needed to be expelled or teachers needed police assistance. I personally never encountered this extent of racism in school in great detail, and I wonder if this kind of `new racism` in the school system is as problematic in Canada as it is in the United States. I have pondered as well about if there was a correlation between racism and school dropout rates.
I am half black myself. I have noticed that I have been getting the same message from different places (i.e.: friends, media, etc.) that if I had a problem, I can talk to a teacher or school administrator that I trusted. But whenever I would attempt to do so, I have noticed that the school staff would be hesitant and unwilling to talk to me, whereas if a white friend of mine did the same (and had the same problem), the school staff would be there for them with open arms.
In a sense, I think this new form of racism in the school system could also be classified under the concept of White Privilege. White students are treated with more `traditional` and `normal` punishments for their actions while black students are punished with more severe consequences for the same type of behaviours. I personally do not doubt the qualifications and capabilities of employees of the education system, but I think that all staff members should undergo a course in which would educate the employees about how all of them (secretaries, teachers, principals, etc.) play a major role in teaching the younger generation of our society. The course should teach them how their (subtle or blatant) attitudes and behaviours leave an impression on the all the students and gives the students something else to learn, that is not supposed to be learnt and is not part of the educational curriculum. The problem with this solution would be, who would teach this type of course?