Racial profiling is an injustice that many would like to write off as an invalid excuse for alleged crimes committed by African Americans. Nevertheless, it remains a real problem and has even reared its ugly head in the nation’s classrooms.
Recently, Roland Martin reported on a study done by the Yale University Child Study Center that revealed disturbing information about the mistreatment of black children in the school system. The report found that regardless of income, “black children — especially boys — receive less attention, harsher punishment and lower marks in school than their White counterparts from kindergarten all the way through college.”
Martin spoke with Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project to seek clarification on this troubling issue. The Advancement Project serves as a watchdog for students in the public schools that, as she put it, are on the nation’s “school house to jail house track.”
Dianis stated that 3.1 million students are suspended each year. Many of these suspensions are for things like being tardy or dress code violations. But in keeping with Martin Luther King’s work, her organization has re-wrote the discipline code in some schools.
Another area of the country that can attest to the mistreatment of our children is Washington, D.C. According to the Black Youth Project, earlier this month, the Washington Post wrote a story on the education system in and around D.C. that are similar to Dianis’ accounts:
“In Montgomery County, nearly 6 percent of black students were suspended or expelled, compared to 1.2 percent of white students. In Fairfax County, 7 percent of black students were suspended compared with 1.5 percent of white students. Of the more than 35,000 students in the Washington suburbs who were suspended or kicked out of school last year, more than half were black.”
But Roland Martin makes an important point about parents being the first line of defense against such attacks on our children. The parent (or guardian) is the one that should stop the child on the way out the door and make sure they are in the proper clothes for school and work with the teachers. There is enough accountability to go around for both parties. Check out Roland Martin’s interview on the topic. What are you doing to help your child get the best education out of the public school system? We all can make a difference if we understand our value to our children.