Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Black Kids Kicked Out of School More Than Most

I found this item interesting and thought provoking and thought you might, too.

"Some African American parents say their kids are suspended for behavior school officials might otherwise ignore in white children. "Well, I won't just say African American. I'll say minority. And, I'm going by an observation I saw while visiting the class."D.L. Whaley lives in Gwinnett county, with her 14 year old son who was suspended earlier this year for verbal outbursts."

Read full article:
Black Kids Kicked Out of School More Than Most


Ella Smith said...

After reading the entire article I only wondered if the problem could possible be because many white parents get their white children diagnosed when they have a condition like ADD or ADHD while stastitics show that many minority parents do not believe conditions like this exist. As a special education teacher and a 504 Coordinator/SST Chairperson I have seen this problem repeatily. First of all I am not a doctor so I can not diagnosed ADD/ADHD but I can tell you what I see.

I see many African American children in the classroom who cannot focus, do not finish their work on time, do not turn in assignments on time, and that seldom finish tests on time that would benifit from having a check up by a medical doctor to see if a medical condition exists that might cause these factors.

I have noticed that many in the black community do not believe in this condition and they do not want their children on any form of medicine for a condition like this. In reality the child could be diagnosed and get services or accommodations without taking any medicine.

Whether parents believe in conditions like ADD/ADHD is totally their option and I respect their option but I do in my heart believe it also could be a problem, because if the child is undiagnosed or not idenified then they are suspended for their acts. While many white students are identified in the same classroom and get may have a BIP or a plan to change their behavior.

This may be a perfect time to tell my story. I struggled until I was 35 years old. My school records indicate I had trouble setting in my seat. I was a girl and never acted out in school. I learned to control this but on the inside my mind was constantly moving from one topic to the next. When I was 35 I took my first ritalin, as I am ADHD, and it was like going from a busy highway with cars everywhere to going to a country street. It actually scared me to start with as my whole life I had been on this busy road.

I know there is such a condition as ADD/ADHD. I am treated for it. I no longer take ritalin as other drugs I take work but I know how it feels to not be able to finish your work, not to be able to focus in class, to always be looking at that noise in the room someone is making because of your inability to focus. I know what it is like to be implusive and to talk out.

I also know now how important it is for me to sit in front of the classroom so I do not have distractions.

I do know their is a problem but as a classroom teacher I do suspect part of the problem is different than it looks. I believe that many white parents get their children tested when they have problems and get accommodations for them so they are protected. These students who are diagnosed can only be suspended 10 school days a year and would never be suspended for minor infractions.

Ella Smith said...

But, if this child was suspected of having this condition then by law they were suppose to be treated as if they had this condition.

But, you also can have a condition and it not be serious enough to be consider a disability so you do not qualify for accommodations. But when this happens you do have a right to due process and you can disagree and have a fair process to possible get the school systems decision changed.

This is so important to so many children who really need these services and this protection.

Cerebration said...

While this may be true in Gwinnett as described in the article - I at least have to say - this most likely doesn't occur in DeKalb. We have over 75% African-American students - with many schools topping over 95%. On top of that - a majority of our teachers and administrators are also African-American. So at least in this department, we surely must be more balanced than most anywhere else.

Ella Smith said...

I do not think this happens anywhere to the extend the article indicates but I do think many white children are protected due to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD while minority children are not so many times they do get consequences for the same behaviors that they see the white children doing and do not understand why the white children do not get the same punishment. Many times they do not get the same punishment because they do have a label which protects them and allow them to have a behavioral intervention plan which allows them to be treated differently. This is a plan that must be followed by law and parents who know their rights make sure their children have this protection. It really is not fair to minority children who may have the same condition but whose parents choice not to go that route. But, actually it is the school systems responsibility to find these students and make sure they have these accommodations. By law the school system does not have to have the parents permission to provide accommodations to a child. This is a total misconception. They have to have permission to be served in a special education classroom but they do not have to have the permission of the parents to provide 504 accommodations to a child that they test and know has a problem and needs the accommodations. The school systems just do not follow through and find the students as required by law. Many times they just allow them to fall through the cracks or drop out of school with no assistance at all. It is really sad. I know I am on my soap box but I sincerely care what happens to all these children.

Cerebration said...

The only kid expelled from Lakeside while I was there was a white kid. Let's not create a racial issue where there isn't one. The story didn't have data - it was anecdotal - basically one mother's 'experience' told from her perspective...

Ella Smith said...

I agree the situation is different in different places.

Anonymous said...

What our children eat affects their behavior.

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: "Let's not create a racial issue where there isn't one."

I don't think this is a "racial" issue. Yes, the mother cited seems to view it that way and the title of the GPB piece is sensationalized but that's what journalist do.

But I don't think there's any maliciousness involved in the story. I wouldn't explain the root of the problem described as racial.

I do think as Ella points out there may be some cultural and parental issues behind the anecdotal story related in the article.

Parents in minority communities may need to be better informed about these types of health conditions so they don't find themselves in situations as described.

Anonymous said...

it's not that simple. consider first generation immigrants and how they differ from american culture, then take a serious anthropoligical look at the issue. it's just not face value. i have experienced all the aspects of. but having excellent classroom management is a must.

dekalb county northern section-
my problem with schools today is how racist and biased they are in disciplining, from elementary school on up. rarely are the white students disciplined for the same acts that the black students get disciplined for. it seems as though the teachers do not want to hurt the white students feelings, and almost feel guilty sometimes for punishing them. but as soon as the black student does the same offense, they get the brunt of the teacher wrath and more, because of their poor classroom management, they blame the black students and vent and get angry at the black students, but are afraid to discipline or be stern or firm with the white students.
a sad disparity.
yaa_di on yahoo

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 7:36

Is this one specific school? One teacher, or is more than one teacher doing this? If the situation is as you describe, it needs to be addressed by administration. If administration can't or won't address it, it needs to be brought to the attention of the Area Superintendent.

This sort of thing can't be allowed to continue, because it is a matter of teachers modeling bullying, biased behavior. It happened to my child, and I ended up removing her from DCSS, but I have always been angry that I felt forced to do that.