In recent events, it has been discovered that former FBI agent McRae who runs the SAFe program for the Huntsville Public Schools has made themselves famous by implementing law enforcement measures that have resulted in the racial profiling of racially Black students. The program process includes teachers and students providing anonymous tips to the school district’s SAFe program. McRae and his firm responded to anonymous tips by investigating the students social media posts which has resulted in the majority of the suspensions and expulsions for Black students. Racial profiling involves detaining, interrogating, and searches without evidence of criminal activity based on an individuals race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. The constitution of the United States affords its citizens protection under the law from unreasonable searches and seizures. The social media post did not indicate that the alleged criminal activity took place on the school district property.
Racial profiling not only exist in the Huntsville Public School but it is evident on a in other local areas. For example, Portland Public Schools have spent millions to terminate racial profiling but the problems seems to be getting worse. According to data provided by the Portland School District, the number of students receiving consequences for disciplinary infractions has decreased. However, Black students are almost five times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school when compared to White students.
On a national level, 48% of Black preschool level students receive more than one out of school suspension while only representing 18% of enrollment. White students represent 43% of the enrollment while only receiving 26% of the suspensions. At higher grade school levels the racial profiling against Black students continues. Black students are three times more likely to be suspended when compared to White students.
The national data is consistent with the actions taken by the Huntsville Public School. While the Black student population is 40%, 86% of the students who were expelled as a result of the social media spying conducted by McRae. The spying lead to 14 expulsions for which 12 of the students were Black.
The major problem with racial profiling is that it creates dissention with law enforcement and the local community. And in this case it will fuel the division between the local school district and the Black community. The Black community will become less trusting of the school district and this will be reflected in the behavior of many Black students.
Black students will have several options. One option will deteriorate the academic achievement of the school district. Black students will enter the classroom with reservations regarding their White teachers. They will less likely put forward their best efforts in the classroom which will ultimately impact student achievement for the school and the entire district. Because of the racial profiling, many Black parents will support the efforts of their children. Years later their will be investigations as to why the White teachers in this school have the inability to teach Black children. There will cries of continued racism and further investigations all because the school district opted to embrace an initiative that has resulted in racial profiling.
The next option will influence the school district’s budget. Some Black students will feel completely objectionable to their White teachers and become a disciplinary challenge for the school. This could cause fights with White teachers which will ultimately impact the culture of the school. They will also experience an increase in student fights. Student who side with the school district initiative will find themselves at odds with the Black students who disagree with the initiative. This increased racial tension will cause continue fights with Black and White students. The school will find that there budget will reflect an increase in security expenditures while curriculum expenditures will decrease.
This unfortunate chain of events will increase racial tension between Black students and White students and teachers. However, Huntsville Public School teachers have an opportunity to close the racial divide between White teachers and students and Black students by facilitating a lesson plan that shows Black students how to avoid becoming victimized by racial profiling.
Since Black children are more successful in facilitating oral presentations make the end product a PowerPoint presentation. Have the students research the causes of racial profiling. Then have them to make recommendations as to how they can avoid becoming a victim of racial profiling. More importantly do not interject your opinion during the lesson regarding racial profiling.
The White teacher who decides to implement this type of lesson will bridge the racial gap that exist in their classroom. They will bridge this gap because instead of continuing as an object of Black student hatred you have positioned yourself to become their hero because you are now teaching them how to survive from becoming victimized by racial profiling.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
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