A Dallas Education Blog by Young Dallas Teachers
This is part 2 of our discussion on Black students in Dallas. Earlier we talked about the deficiencies in the hallway and in academic achievement. Discipline overlaps with that and spills into the hallway. Why are black children in trouble more than their counterparts? Is the behavior of our black children that different or are they getting less tolerance from teachers and administrators? Why are they misbehaving in the first place? I'd argue that they aren't doing anything that different from their peers, but it upsets teachers and administrators more than students of different racial backgrounds. Read more after the jump and comment below.
In the hallway - Discipline referrals are highest among our Black students. Our students reflect the culture around them, and for many of our Black DISD students, that culture is rooted in abandonment, discrimination, and divestment. In my experience, all children misbehave. The difference I've observed is that our Black students actively misbehave vs passively.. Whereas another student would respond with compliance or silent resistance, our black students frequently will challenge authority, become loud, profane, and disrespectful. They react and provoke responses. Those responses are often more severe from Black faculty. The idea of "I look bad because you look bad," or "when people see me, they see you, and that pisses me off" are sentiments I can empathize with and explains some of the high levels of referrals. Imagine a black female students who is in ISS more than she's in class. She walks the halls, she's loud, she's profane, and she's pregnant. When asked if "administrators ever ask he why she acts the way she does," she responds "no, they just get me in trouble." What is the significance of her silence? Why isn't she yelling now like always? It's pain. Pain that she can't articulate or explain because she can't read, her vocabulary is small because on average she's heard fewer words than her counterparts since BIRTH, and all she gets is division and separation from her peers for being herself. My heart breaks for her. It breaks for my other girl who yells at me because she has 4 sisters who all have different dads and hers is the only one that wants nothing to do with her. Is her behavior OK? Absolutely not, and it pisses me off, but she's more than her attitude. She loves to act and dance and sing. She engages in her own way. Yes it disrupts the other students, yes it annoys me, but when she is doing this I always make a point to pull her aside and tell her, "this is not the time or place for this kind of behavior, but, I'll promise make a time because you're great just the way you are. Nice singing voice." She was an angel the rest of the day. It didn't carry over to the next day, but those small gains are wins in my book.
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