Do Inequalities in Discipline Exist in the Education System?
Bridgewater State University
There has been a great amount of research conducted to help explain the ever increasing gap in discipline that exists between African Americans and their Caucasian peers in the school system. Educators and professionals are becoming more aware of the blatant discrimination African Americans face and are beginning to reevaluate their school’s discipline policies. Action needs to be taken to redirect America’s education system into one of higher learning, understanding, and achievement for children of all races.
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In the United States, African Americans continue to trail behind their white peers in test scores and graduation rates. (Sernau, 2012, p. 114)
Research has revealed that black students are more than three times as likely than whites to be suspended or expelled from school for the same type of offenses.(Monroe, 2005, p. 46) Young black men are often stereotyped as violent, aggressive, defiant criminals. Recently, there has been a lot of public outrage within African American communities over police brutality and criminal justice for blacks. The Trayvon Martin case caused a huge uproar across the nation and is just one example of the many contentious occurrences African Americans have experienced in America. Martin was stereotyped by a neighborhood watchman as a violent criminal because he was black and was wearing a black hoodie. Zimmerman, the watchman, suspiciously followed Martin. A quarrel between the two occurred, and Martin was shot and killed. Zimmerman claimed he was standing his ground, but the only items that were on Martin’s person were a can of tea and a bag of skittles. Many can say it was Zimmerman’s preconceived perception of blacks that resulted in the unnecessary death of a teenage boy.
Many teachers do not connect their disciplinary reactions to these negative misconceptions of African Americans. However, racial disparities in the education system suggest educators may be inherently guided to believe African American males require more control and are less likely to respond to punitive punishment.(Monroe, 2005, p. 46-47) The Parent and Family Involvement in Education survey has revealed that suspension and expulsion rates in school are decreasing for white students and on the rise for black ones. Expulsions for African Americans rose from 6.5% in 1999 to 10.3% in 2010. However,...