New Haven’s black students are more than four times as likely to be kicked out of class as its white students — a disparity that’s even worse for boys.
That finding is based on the Independent’s analysis of disciplinary actions that a school administrator presented at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting.
School board members and administrators called the figures “sobering.”
The inside look at the school system’s figures fulfilled a promise that Superintendent Carol Birks made during the search process to share the district’s data more widely. But in the first glimpse at the numbers this school year, school board members didn’t like what they saw, especially in the racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions.
“These numbers are disturbing. That’s why we’re presenting it to you,” Birks said. “We have a collective responsibility to make sure that students are getting what they need academically and behaviorally. We are conducting a school-quality review to drill down into what’s occurring and identify goals.”
After the first marking period this school year, sanctions handed down by the district fell disproportionately on African-American kids, especially on the boys.
Among the 494 suspensions and 1 expulsion, 43.3 percent went to African-American boys, 19.0 percent to African-American girls, 20.1 percent to Hispanic boys and 10.9 percent to Hispanic girls, said Michele Sherban, the district’s research supervisor. Only 3.2 percent went to white boys and 1.9 percent went to white girls, she added.
Those rates don’t come close to matching the district’s demographics, based on last year’s enrollment.
Black children, who made up only 38 percent of the student body, are the most overrepresented among the students being kicked out of class. They are roughly 1.64 times more likely to be suspended than the average student.
Hispanic children, who made up a plurality of the student body at 45 percent, are slightly underrepresented in the proportion of suspensions. They are two-thirds less likely to be suspended than the average student.
White and Asian students, meanwhile, are very underrepresented in the proportion of suspensions. White students are two-fifths less likely and Asian students are one-tenth less likely to be suspended than the average student.
“As an African-American and a mother, I have got to stay that I’m trying to wrap my head around this suspensions by gender, race and ethnicity. The male African-American number, it’s just off the charts,” said Mayor Toni Harp. “I’m very disturbed by this number. It says we should be doing something differently than we are currently doing it.”
Figuring out exactly what to do was tougher for the city’s leaders. Harp called for a panel to investigate “why there is such a failure to adjust to school by this population.”
Board member Tamiko Jackson-McArthur said the starting point was painfully obvious to her, as the mother of two black children.
“We need to start looking into how black males are viewed from pre-kindergarten,” she said. “I have a girl and I have a boy, and I see the difference. I had to speak to the teachers from day one, because my son was getting treated differently for the same things that I would see with my daughter or someone who wasn’t a black male. This is happening from the gate, and it continues to spiral out of control — until you have a middle-school male who is viewed as a threat, who is viewed as unable to achieve, as someone who is not going to be anything.
“We have to be intentional, so we don’t have this culture in our midst anymore,” Jackson-McArthur continued. “This is a problem, and this illustration of it is heartbreaking. I went through it myself.”
Superintendent Birks said she agrees that all school employees need training in being culturally responsive and recognizing trauma. But she added that the district currently can’t offer that.
“We need to create a culture. That comes with education for our staff,” she said. “It’s more of a comprehensive view that we have to approach, which we right now don’t have the capacity to do.”
Darnell Goldson, the board’s president, asked Sherban to provide disaggregated numbers at the next meeting, listing the number expulsions, out-of-school suspensions and in-school suspensions by race, gender and offense.
Other sources of data collected by the federal government suggest that New Haven’s disparities are largely consistent across all forms of serious discipline and have been that way for several years.
In 2015, not a single white, Asian, native or multi-racial student was expelled, while 37 black and 20 brown students were permanently kicked out.
Out-of-school suspensions collectively caused African-American kids to miss 5,230 school days and Hispanic kids to miss 2,200 school days.
Most of the offenses were for brawling without a weapon, totaling 1,252 incidents. Other common offenses included threats of a physical attack without a weapon (182), robbery without a weapon (43), and fighting with a weapon (23).
Even as racial disparities persist districtwide, some schools have all but phased-out suspensions, preferring to resolve behavioral issues through other means, including restorative practices that challenge students to take responsibility for their actions.
So far this year, no students were kicked out of class at six schools, Sherban said. Those are Celentano Biotech, Health and Medical Magnet; Columbus Family Academy; John S. Martinez Sea & Sky STEM Magnet; Truman School; West Rock STREAM Academy; and Worthington Hooker School.
Superintendent Birks said that the district needs to learn more from those schools.
“Of course, the goal is to use more restorative practices at large, as a system, not to suspend for every infraction. We need to ensure that we are providing students with the social-emotional supports they need,” she said. “We are going to go to schools, like Martinez and others, to ask them to share the practices that they’re using with all of us, so we can use those pockets to repeat the excellence they’re demonstrating.”
I think the questions should be… 1) Are other demographics getting away with the same offenses without suspension? 2) Do the percentages of suspension correlate with behavior influencing external factors like poverty?
posted by: Noteworthy on November 28, 2018 9:30am
The premise of this story - and of the predictable “sobering” puffery from this sorry group - is that it’s a cultural problem. It’s white people. It’s that black male kids are treated differently. In some cases, this may be true but not across the spectrum. How about instead of this auto-immune response - somebody suggest a holistic approach. Could it be parenting? Homelife? Housing, food insecurities? How about trauma - divorce, violence in the home?
Come on folks - get your head out of it. Don’t auto-blame “the system” and cultural understanding. My experience is that poorly behaved kids are in direct relation to a poor home life.
posted by: observer1 on November 28, 2018 9:30am
I have made a career out making statistics yield a result that management desired. In this case, I would want to measure every available piece of data on every student that went afoul of the system. I would look at their grades, attendance records, single or double parent home, arrest record (including severity) if there was one and so forth. There are a lot more columns that can be added to the data base, but you get the idea. Initially, one does not really know what common element is being looked for, but as information is charted and sorted elements consistent amongst students with problems may become evident. There can be zero bias or personal prejudice allowed to manipulate the interpretation of data or results. If the data sample size is large enough and representative of the population being studied the results should present common traits or markers to look for to predict future problem students. I would venture to say that commonality of traits or markers would be similar across students of all races. Maturity levels of students would be an important factor, so grade levels would be important to use in grouping students so the data is not corrupted. For example; K to 3, 4 to 6, 7 to 9, and 10 to 12. The data might show similarities in disciplinary problems that cross ethnic or racial lines. It would be a lot of work to gather the required data and to plug the information into a data base, but it could yield results that would be enlightening and very useful. There are times when the personal bias of people tempted to look only at the obvious demographic statistics, will mask the true causes of antisocial behavior resulting in student suspensions. This would be a very interesting case study. Perhaps some Yale students could take it on as a project at no cost to the city. There would also be a lack of temptation to manipulate the results to match a political or social agenda.
posted by: heightsdad on November 28, 2018 10:01am
Looking at this article and reading through it, It made me cringe. For some people, it is the lost village focus. If parents would allow the community to help to raise your child, then your child will not be out of control. (part-time jobs, after school programs). It has nothing to do with race, but more with opportunity and respect. The numbers being low in the white, asian, bi-racial families will be low, because that child has been taught and engaged at an early stage to respect their adults in their lives. In some households, the same message does not always get out. SORRY TO USE CAPS BUT, sometimes you have to be bold to get the message through.. WHERE ARE THE BLACK MALE TEACHERS? THE DISTRICT SHOULD HIRE MORE BLACK MALE ROLE MODELS IN THE SCHOOLS TO CURB THIS ISSUE. THERE ARE NOT MANY BLACK MALES IN THE DISTRICT, BUT SOME WHO WANT TO TEACH, HAVE OBSTACLES ARE IN THE WAY. HIRE OR PROMOTE SOME OF YOUR BLACK MALE SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS/ PARA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE IN SOME OF THE BUILDINGS, WHERE THE RATES ARE HIGH. THEY CAN HELP GUIDE THE STUDENTS AND NOT JUST USE THEM IN THE ROLE OF A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, BEHAVIORAL SPECIALIST/ TRUANCY OFFICERS, AND SECURITY GUARDS. FOR THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE THESE ISSUES, THEY MAY COME FROM A BROKEN HOME OR A ONE PARENT HOUSEHOLD, AND THE PARENT CAN NOT CONTROL, MONITOR OR ENFORCE THE RULES FOR THE CHILD TO ADHERE TO, WHICH MEANS THAT THEY HAVE TO TAKE OFF FROM WORK TO DEAL WITH THE CHILD, WHEN SOMETHING OCCURS? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL? WHAT IS THE POLICY FOR THESE REPEAT OFFENDERS WHO JUST WANT TO GET OUT OF CLASS, WALK AROUND SCHOOL AND DO NOT WANT TO LEARN? AT SOME POINT, WE HAVE TO GET STRONG ON THE DISCIPLINE PART IN THE SCHOOL. IF THE CHILD DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR EDUCATION, WHAT CAN WE AS ADULTS DO? LEARNING AND LEARNED BEHAVIOR COME FROM THE BEGINNING MOMENTS OF LIFE? -HIRE FROM WITHIN— THE LOWER GRADES GET IT, WHAT ABOUT THE UPPER GRADES, LOOK AT THE NUMBERS.
posted by: heightsdad on November 28, 2018 10:11am
TO ALL: stop looking at data and look at what is right in front of you. our male population who want to cause these problems in the school are seeking something or someone, and some people are not getting it. If I have a teacher who does not get me, does not understand me, they would lash out. The issues are plain and simple. HIRE again from within. HIRE YOUR BLACK MALE/HISPANIC/ASIAN substitute teachers, para professionals to do the work. Some are already committed in the school to make a change, but if they are in the classroom, engaged inside the school, see how the narrative changes. if the kids do not want to do right in the school, make then pick up trash in the lunch room, paint some of the walls, pick up the leaves outside, or clean the walls(wait, we cannot do that, but it is an idea, though) let’s stop looking at data, let’s role up our sleeves and hire these men. See how the numbers go down then.
posted by: Jill_the_Pill on November 28, 2018 10:21am
“I have made a career out making statistics yield a result that management desired.”
It might also be worth noting that the slides are derived from the CT RISE “data dashboard” project funded by the Dalio foundation, and that this is an instance of “de-identified” aggregate data, which carries the real risk of stigmatizing racial groups.
posted by: BevHills730 on November 28, 2018 11:15am
Noteworthy advocates for the punishment of black children and the jailing of immigrant children, while blaming their parents.
He advocates against the punishment of rapists and pedophiles.
posted by: Noteworthy on November 28, 2018 11:16am
It’s also worth noting that overall suspensions are already down because the district has implemented their rubber room mentality of time outs - and “restorative justice.” Which are both programs to keep behavior problems in the schools so that the pols can say, hey, our suspension rates are down while keeping people ignorant as to how that’s accomplished. You just don’t kick them out. To actually have kids booted from school is kind of shocking - these must be the kids that even the lax standards couldn’t keep in school. Think about that.
posted by: westville man on November 28, 2018 12:12pm
Noteworthy, I seem to recall you decrying racial profiling while driving. I think it was due to your having a bi-racial son (?) who was being pulled over. Please correct me if i am wrong. What I don’t understand is why it’s such a stretch, then, for you to realize the bias involved with the way children of color, especially males, are treated. As someone who’s mentored in the NH public schools and who has a daughter of color, I can tell you the racism is very real and consequential. Some day maybe we will meet again and have a discussion on it.
posted by: darnell on November 28, 2018 12:27pm
As a African American male I can personally attest to be pulled over for driving while being black. I have had white drivers speed by me and then pulled over, for what I assumed was my driving a relatively nice car in a community where I was not of the “norm”. I also know from both personal experience and data gathering that black males are treated differently by law enforcement than white females. Recently, a group of young black males walked into a mall with hoodies on WITHOUT the hood pulled over their heads, and were asked to leave and in one case arrested because they complained about their treatment. A group of older white women decided to test the system and entered the same mall with hoods up, and were not asked to leave nor arrested.
Noteworthy and others, these disparities are REAL. They may not be your experience but I can tell you as an African American it is ours.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 28, 2018 12:38pm
robn writes: Do the percentages of suspension correlate with behavior influencing external factors like poverty?
The association of bad behavior with poverty is just plain ignorant. The suggestion that poverty is a morally defining reality is also just plain ignorant, too. Poverty is an economic reality, not a moral one. It does not influence moral or ethical behavior.
There is indeed enough evidence to show that persons with means, ranging from middle case security to very wealthy, break the rules, break the law, and commit horrendous offensives against society.
The suggestion proffered by robn is just another one of her/his racist troupes, which he/she dances across the pages of this comment section frequently.
The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee
posted by: robn on November 28, 2018 1:02pm
There’s a wide body of science documenting the correlation between poverty and negative behavior.
FYI, I think its racist of you to cry wolf with accusations of racism every time you’re presented with an uncomfortable idea. Think about it.
posted by: 1644 on November 28, 2018 1:05pm
Noteworthy: The mayor is taking precisely the approach you advocate: Harp called for a panel to investigate “why there is such a failure to adjust to school by this population.”
In other words, Harp believes the fault lies with the students, not the school system. I infer the mayor meant that the students’ parents are not equipping them to succeed in school. On the other hand, Dr. Jackson is presumably providing the same home environment to both her children, yet sees her son treated differently.
Heights dad: The system is cutting staff now, not hiring, but presuming those paraprofessionals have the state required certifications to teach, yes, the should be hired. My guess, however, and it’s only a guess, is that most paraprofessionals are not certified to teach.
posted by: robn on November 28, 2018 1:09pm
Like some others, I’d like to know the truth. To get to it, and before I went public with a chart like this I would have explored other influencing factors like the one I suggested to either back up, or refute the assertion of bias.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 28, 2018 1:29pm
There is also “wide body of science documenting the correlation between” Black people low IQ’s. It called eugenics.
The new racism is calling people racist for calling out racism. Thank you for revealing yourself, once again.
There is NO credible evidence ANYWHERE, even by racist, that defines racism as “cry(ing) wolf with accusations of racism every time you’re presented with an uncomfortable idea.”
You have NEVER said anything that I need to “think about.” But you have said much that reveals your racist predilections. Including this latest comment.
posted by: westville man on November 28, 2018 1:40pm
“FYI, I think its racist of you to cry wolf with accusations of racism every time you’re presented with an uncomfortable idea. Think about it.”
Robn, you really should educate yourself on the issue of racism, much like you have on zoning, real estate development, etc. If you do, you will see that your above statement is cringe-worthy.
posted by: Jill_the_Pill on November 28, 2018 1:43pm
To show disparity of treatment, you want to group by incident type (fighting, swearing, whatever) and then show the percent of those accused who went on to be suspended within each racial group.
students fighting: 100 students (33 black, 33 white, 33 latino, 1 asian)
number who went on to be suspended: 30 black, 10 white, 20 latino, 0 asian
percent: 91% black, 30% white, 61% latino, 0% asian. (No, they are not supposed to add up to 100.)
^^^ evidence of disparate treatment, unfairly targeting black students
——————————————————————————————————- students fighting: 100 students (60 black, 20 white, 20 latino, 0 asian)
number who went on to be suspended: 30 black, 10 white, 20 latino, 0 asian
percent: 50% black, 50% white, 100% latino, 0% asian
^^^ evidence of disparate treatment, but unfairly targeting latino students this time
Number of suspensions by racial group, as well as percentage of total suspensions from each racial group (that’s what’s shown in the slides), is exactly the same in both examples.
posted by: JohnTulin on November 28, 2018 2:42pm
Robn, to answer your first question, white kids certainly get away with stuff that kids of color don’t. Let me explain. A group of white kids are walking down the hallway during class time. Nothing may be said to them about it, with or without a pass, because it is assumed that they are doing what they should be doing. Or, if they are stopped and questioned, the reason they give is pleasantly accepted and they are allowed to continue. Black or Hispanic kids are stopped, corralled into a confined space, sent to the office, etc. No one would get suspended for this, but white kids have a privilege that kids of color don’t. White kids are the first to tell you that!
posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on November 28, 2018 2:48pm
I would bet anything that these profiles are also reflected in who gets noticed and referred for special help as well.
My daughter began to struggle academically late in middle school. Yet, as a quiet and compliant white girl with parents who were professionals, she continued to get excellent grades for several years after the troubles had started. By junior year, when she was melting down (not doing homework, or partially doing it and not turning it in) her grades began, finally, to reflect her actual performance, but nobody at the school told us. Part of her acting out included hiding her report card from us. Not until I called the school did anybody let us know what was on that report card: we had not signed and returned it, but nobody reached out to us.
Later, when our daughter could not cope in college, we learned that she had a severe learning disability that had been with her for years. She had been able to compensate until the academic work reached a level that called for study skills beyond her capacity without intervention and help. These things are often overlooked in girls, we were told, because they don’t often engage in disruptive behavior even if they are in deep trouble academically.
If schools are going to actually help their students succeed, the teachers and administrators need to look past social stereotyping of all kinds.
posted by: robn on November 28, 2018 3:22pm
STRL and WVM,
There are millions upon millions of dollars coming into the city and the education system each year to try to counteract the negative effects of poverty in our city. Stop crying racism.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on November 28, 2018 3:28pm
@ NHI — don’t like this headline.
I thought students earned suspension. I never knew it fell on them, like taxes.
If I wrote the headline it would be:
Racial Inequities? Black NHPS Students Being Suspended at an Alarming Rate
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 28, 2018 3:39pm
You lastest staetment has NOTHING to do with bad behavior and it’s connection to poverty, as you posited in your first eradict statement.
And if you think your “stop crying racism” is going to make anyone stop pointing out YOUR racism here, you are so, so wrong.
Racism is a fact of life in America. It always has been, and as far as we can see, it always will be. It’s presistence is aided by people like you who demand that we not talk about it. Well, I for one can give less than a damn about your aversion to the conversation(s) about racism. I will make it a point to annoy you will said conversation at every necessary moment.
Those of use who suffer the enduring lashes of racism dont’ “cry racism,” by the way. We cry out from the effects of racsim, and from people in power who enforce it.
posted by: Ex-HVN on November 28, 2018 4:52pm
I taught in the Bridgeport Public Schools for the past number of years (a place of former employment for Birks). Last year the order came down: Reduce the number of suspensions. The suspensions were an embarrassment for the system. In June I was attacked by a 17 year old Black female student (not one I taught). She was angry about not be permitted to join in a year end activity because of her repeated bad behavior. She had been in In School Suspension 7 times during the school year. She ran up behind me and struck me over the back of my head with her clenched fist. She is 4 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than me. I saw who it was and called security and the principal. I wanted her expelled. The school authorities said they had a ‘no suspension or expulsion order’ in place as they had reached the maximum acceptable limit. I then called the police on my own and had her arrested. Turns out she was on parole for aggravated assault. I ended up with a concussion that lasted more than a month. I pushed for her trial as an adult and she got 3-5 years in Niantic. We need more discipline and a return to reform schools for those who are a threat to other students and faculty.
posted by: Atticus Shrugged on November 28, 2018 4:57pm
This is a problem that is presents based upon race and gender. Therefore, it is relevant to ask whether race plays a role. If the data were organized by socio-economic status, then it would be relevant to look first at socio-economic status. It is also right to request more data, which Darnell has done. He did not simply decry racism, nor did the mayor. And though it may be premature, Dr. Jackson’s response was based upon her experiences, which people are allowed to bring into problem solving - so long as the person does not let his/her own experience detract from an objective ability to view data.
I don’t believe most teachers or people are racist. However, I do believe that there is inherent bias in everyone and that may impact results in the classroom. It also likely impacts perceptions in this forum. When being asked your opinion on matter when given limited data, it is not absurd to respond with what you know: by teachers, board of ed members, or posters to this site. Perhaps, we should wait for more data but in the interim, what harm would additional training do?
posted by: AliceB on November 28, 2018 9:13pm
I am a teacher in the New Haven Public Schools. I teach in one of the comprehensive high schools. The majority of my students are African American and about 40 percent male. When a student in the school is suspended that student is aware of the reason and I have never heard a student blame their suspension on racist attitudes by any of the faculty. This whole article is bull; absolute bull. The blame is being put squarely upon the teacher; we need to be more culturally aware; we need to be more sensitized; we need to be black and male in order to reach the student who is black and male. That is crazy. Ones’ gender and race has nothing to do with one’s ability to reach their students. Two months ago a student threw a chair at the back of one of our teachers. That teacher is still out on leave and that student is back in the school where that student continued his reign of terror by knocking out the front teeth of a special needs student. This student needs to be put in another type of environment; perhaps a transitional situation. He was not suspended for more than 3 days for the violent attack on a teacher. As a teacher who feels she has a very good rapport with her students; I totally disagree with the suggestion that we need more male/black teachers to counter the high rate of suspensions. We just need students who come into the school with a mindset to learn and that mindset begins at home. I’m not buying any of these statistics; as Charlie Brown or Lucy once said: “Tell your statistics to shut up.”
posted by: Ex-HVN on November 29, 2018 6:43am
@AliceB I could not agree with you more. Violent students need to be removed from the schools. Staff and students should not be subjected to this danger. That’s why I called the police to arrest the student who assaulted me when administration would not suspend/expell her. Schools have no right to hide that fact that convicted violent offenders on parole are in the school.
We have learned that mainstreaming does not work over the past 40 years. It brings everyone down. Violent students must be contained in specialized institutions, not left to run amok in the general population.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 29, 2018 8:17am
The example you used here of extreme misbehavior of one student to justify the suspension of many Black boys would be valid were the majority of Black boys being suspended committed the level of offense that you talk about here. But, of course, they do not.
Most Black boys are being suspended for “offenses” that are much less egregious than students attacking teachers or knocking other students’ teeth out. Your and Ex-HVN’s use of extreme examples is much like defending the use of the death penalty by parading before and scaring the public with the mental images of the most diabolical serial killers. The fact, however, is that the lion’s share of people on death row is those who are poor and can’t afford proper legal representation. There would be a clear correlation between that fact and the suspension rate of Black boys from New Haven Public Schools using your rationale for maintaining a system of suspension that is apparently broken and brokered by race and gender in the worst way.
Given mindsets like yours, it is no wonder that the school to prison pipeline is so prevalent in our society.
posted by: westville man on November 29, 2018 8:49am
AliceB : If teachers were predominantly men teaching in the school system, would there be any issues of sexism, unequal treatment or harassment of girls, young women and their parents? Would the male teachers need any kind of sensitivity training on these issues? Most importantly, would you dismiss it out of hand? It’s aggravating to me for women especially to see disparate treatment of the sexes but not when it comes to color. Your post is chilling to me.
posted by: loquacious truth on November 29, 2018 10:22am
Interesting Fact: Teachers don’t suspend students. Administrators and non certified Deans handle that process. So the theory that having teachers who look like the population of students being suspended would somehow drive down the number of suspensions is suspect. Would you stop promoting African Americans in Administration positions if the data showed that a significant number of the suspensions of AA male students was coming from AA administrators? No you wouldn’t because it would be a very stupid practice. Stop looking for a scape goat (sound like Trump when you do that) and start focusing on the actual issue.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 29, 2018 12:45pm
loquacious truth wrote: “Teachers don’t suspend students. Administrators and non certified Deans handle that process. So the theory that having teachers who look like the population of students being suspended would somehow drive down the number of suspensions is suspect.”
The issue here is not about who performs the administrative act of suspending. The point is if there are more teachers - the first contact with students - who “look like the population of students being suspended,” those teachers might be better equipped to handle the students’ issues before said students became unhinged. Additionally, they might not be so quick to send students to the administrators for behavior that other students (the non-suspended ones) get away with consistently.
Racial parity is not a “scapegoat,” as you call it. It is a real solution to some of the issues that students face as they continuously have to deal with racial biases and racial fears.
posted by: loquacious truth on November 29, 2018 1:22pm
It is unfair to assume that teachers of color have some magic classroom management wand , they don’t. It is unfair to put that pressure on them. There are many teachers (black, white, etc…) who constantly have issues with students. There are also teachers ( black, white, etc…) who have very few issues. Skin color has nothing to do with classroom management. It’s a false narrative being propagated by this administration in order to justify public money for an all black male school. Which will not solve the problem. All it will do is divert more money away from the schools who need it. It is really sad watching the adults in the community spin data in order to push their political agenda.
posted by: loquacious truth on November 29, 2018 1:44pm
Suggesting that “having non black male teachers” as being the issue for the suspension of black male students is “scapegoating”.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 29, 2018 2:48pm
It’s not about a “magic wand.” It’s about cultural sensitivity and knowledge. And stop reducing race to “skin color.” That oversimplifies the complex reality of race that all intelligent people know exist.
posted by: loquacious truth on November 29, 2018 3:31pm
I’m not the one who reduced race to skin color. In fact I’m trying to argue that it is not a leading factor. Suspensions don’t happen just because of cultural insensitivity. If your statement were true than it would also be true that Black and Hispanic teachers are somehow immune to assault or classroom management issues and I can assure you they are not. Their cultural sensitivity doesn’t make them less likely to face serious behavioral issues. And just because they look like their students doesn’t make them cultural sensitive either. Many suspensions at the Highschool level are the result of behaviors which occur outside of the classroom. Stop blaming the people who are trying to help and start working together to look at the real issue. And stop using manipulated data to promote your political agenda. And please stop inferring that people with a different opinion are not “intelligent”.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 29, 2018 4:35pm
I refer you to my response to Alice B.
posted by: couger22 on November 29, 2018 7:17pm
So I guess the answer is black students should be taught by black teachers and administrators. Hispanic students by Hispanic teachers and administrators. White students by white teachers and administrators and so on so forth. Did it ever occur to people to look into why these students were suspended, rather than their race. I taught in New Haven for 46 years, I can say that student suspensions are taken very seriously. Suspensions are based on the offense and not someone’s race or gender. It’s time the BOE looked into the underlying reason for suspensions rather than the race or gender of students.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 29, 2018 9:26pm
And you know this how?
posted by: LennyMoore24 on November 29, 2018 9:40pm
Mr. Ross-Lee, you may be interested in the following statistics: Doctor at Occupational Health said that they are seeing between 3 and 4 school district employees per week with injuries sustained from students in district. Workers Compensation caseworkers report they are seeing 2-3 cases coming across their desks from around the state each day. Looks like violent acts are occurring rather often. Perhaps the Independent should do a story on violence directed toward teachers and what that can cost the district.
posted by: observer1 on November 30, 2018 6:27am
Everyone who has commented should stop writing, take a deep breath and start at the beginning and reread all the comments. The race card has been played over and over throughout the comments. If there exists one common thread amongst respondents, racism is used as an excuse to denigrate a lot of the commentary being made on racial distribution and severity of discipline. A lot of the comments appear to be coming from well educated people who should know better than to let personal bias enter and then shape the discussion. There is no quick and dirty answer to the data presented, and if you think about it agreement is possible. There is a very real problem demonstrated by the graphing of data, but there is not enough data available to know why the problem is occurring. A study of possible causes needs to be done and the results then discussed. There are no instant answers, just many opinions as to why the data presented by the graph exists. Some commentators blame race, racism, home life, economic disadvantage and so forth. The real answer is probably all of the preceding plus a lot more. Shooting from the hip and aiming afterwards is counterproductive. There is a very real problem being demonstrated by the data. The probability of there being a solution which could effect a majority of the problem students is also real, but the root causes must be known before a solution can be put in place.
posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 30, 2018 9:43am
When the primary information presented shows that one race and gender is receiving negative behavior disproportionately, we know by THAT fact that we have a race problem. The REASON for that race problem is not evident yet from the slim information the provided, but the race problem is.
When the racial disparity in this area is coupled with the experiences of persons of the same race who have suffered the same disparities throughout our lives, the responses spouted here are much more than “opinions.” They are statements of fact.
Your statement is little more than a sophisticated attempt to get people who experience the lash of racism to stop talking about it. Well, I for one will not. If talk of racism makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you should consider how the reality of racism makes its victims feel.
posted by: heightsdad on November 30, 2018 11:43am
To all of the people who have read the article and replied back to this , I put a challenge to you. I ask those who have never worked in the public school sector, to walk in the shoes of those who work in the Public educational sector. Seek, observe and understand that the system has many holes and many successes in it. Ask to volunteer in a school, hold an after school program or work as a tutor or a substitute teacher. See what really goes on for your eyes and see how the problem can be addressed. For those who have, ever had, or plan to work in the public school side of education, I challenge you with this. Press for more accountability with the student’s and their families as to why we have this broken system. Often times, those who work in the building are that student’s only positive reinforcement throughout the day. Find those students who need the extra support, the extra care and try to make a difference for them. I have worked with various youth, from all sides of the chart. rich, poor, various colors, sexual identifications. The main take away is that kids who lash out have the following issues: Lack of parental support, Lack of oversight , Lack of adult supervision, and Lack of resources being available to them. (think beyond the Q-house, boys and Girls club, and Leap.) All of our children need our help and support and we, the adults sometimes miss the point. For my previous statement: I have worked inside the public school system. Some of it is good, and some of it is bad. I have seen how a presence of the minority teacher has helped the students who wish to lash out, and have changed them. From kids being frequently on the list that this article shows, to changing their lives, believing in them and encouraging the. We need to have more minority teachers, male and female in the schools. We need to show our kids, that while there is one way, that there are many different voices and experiences that still need to be heard.