How Should Ferguson Public School Teachers Respond to the Grand Jury Verdict Regarding the Michael Brown Shooting?

As times has elapsed, the grand jury in Ferguson will make a decision regarding whether Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old White police officer, should stand trail for the death of Black teenager Michael Brown which will ultimately have an impact on the Ferguson Public Schools.

Tensions between the local police department and the community continue to rise and there is an expected reaction from the community. The Missouri Governor has stated that his state is ready to step up its law enforcement presence in the St. Louis suburb. The Ferguson community has responded by purchasing additional guns. Owners are increasing security by fortifying their stores in case the grand jury verdict is not accepted by the community.

The grand jury verdict regarding the Michael Brown shooting will also have and impact on the Ferguson Public Schools. If the grand jury decides to indict Darren Wilson, teachers can anticipate anguish from the White community. This anguish will find its way into your classroom. You will find that White students who have parents who disagree with the Darren Wilson indictment will express that same position in your classroom. This will cause students fights and possible bullying with students who agree with a Darren Wilson indictment.

Recommendation #1: For student fights that result from the grand jury decision of the Michael Brown shooting, report both the instigator and the perpetrator. It takes two people to fight. One is the instigator and one is the perpetrator. Establish with all of your students that this is a very difficult time for the Ferguson Public Schools and it’s community and any student that starts a fight will receive the same consequence for the person that they fought. This way no parent, whether White or Black can say that you as a teacher or the school district are racist.

If the grand jury verdict frees Darren Wilson for the Michael Brown shooting there is an anticipated response from the community and civil rights leaders. Many people believe that their will be looting and violence throughout the community. Many Black parents will express their discontent with the verdict and Black students will also express this discontent. If there are any students fights follow Recommendation #1.

Additionally, many Black students may associate their White teachers with the Ferguson Police and the other challenges associated with the Michael Brown shooting. It may seem that the Black students are acting out and making it a challenge for you in the classroom. Here are a few tips about Black student verbal and nonverbal behaviors.

  • Do not be offended. Out of respect, Black students are taught not to make direct eye contact with an adult. Don’t be offended if the Black student does not give you direct eye contact.
  • Evaluate Black student listening techniques. When a Black student is excited about what they have heard, they ask you to repeat it to determine if you are sincere or telling the truth. They are now listening for tone.
  • Evaluate Black student debating techniques. When Black students debate, not only do they debate the idea, they also debate the person. So don’t take their debating techniques personally as most White teachers have done in the past.
  • Keep your cool. One way that Black students will attempt to rise to leadership in front of their peers is to make the teacher lose their cool. Actually, when you do not lose your cool in front of Black students you maintain your established leadership and authority in the class. Otherwise, all of the students will know how to push your buttons.

Now that you know how to deal with the students, you will have to prepare for the worst which is the closing of the Ferguson Public Schools as a result of the Michael Brown shooting.

Recommendation #2: Prepare homework and classroom assignments for three weeks in advance. Apprise the parents of your students that you are setting up an email account and any students who are looking for classwork and homework can contact you through this email. For extended, time out of school, you can do mini-lessons, post them on YouTube, and if there are any student questions you can answer them via email. Parents and students will appreciate your efforts that will help them continue to achieve in your classroom in their absence due to the grad jury verdict of the Michael Brown shooting.

Related Articles

Tracking the Events in the Wake of Michael Brown’s Shooting

Michael Brown Family Coroner Called Before Ferguson Case Grand Jury

Michael Brown’s Parents to U.N. Torture Panel: You Can Save Lives

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


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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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