How should Oklahoma City Public School Teachers Respond to Civil Rights Complaints?

In a recent article, it is reported that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is investigating a civil rights complaint regarding the Oklahoma City Public School teachers and school district. Superintendent Rob Neu reported to the school board that there are three civil rights complaints against the school district. The superintendent went on to say that “if we do not intervene and do something now, then we know their pathway”.

The three civil rights complaints include failing to provide equal opportunities to male and female high school students, discrimination against Blacks and Hispanics with disabilities, and individual retaliation and discrimination against Black and Hispanic students in the area of discipline.

The first challenge of providing equal opportunities to male and female high school students involve Title IX. According to Title IX, No person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX compliance can be determined in one of three of the following ways:

  1. Providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment. This prong of the test is satisfied when participation opportunities for men and women are “substantially proportionate” to their respective undergraduate enrollment.
  2. Demonstrating a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex. This prong of the test is satisfied when an institution has a history and continuing practice of program expansion that is responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex (typically female).
  3. Accommodating the interest and ability of underrepresented sex. This prong of the test is satisfied when an institution is meeting the interests and abilities of its female students even where there are disproportionately fewer females than males participating in sports.

Even though the athletic directors in the Oklahoma will be responsible for adhering to compliance regarding the civil rights complaint, teachers can help by recommending future plans as well as assisting by becoming coaches for each needed event. I remember as a former basketball and softball coach for a junior high school in Washington, DC, the athletic director went overboard in purchasing items for the girls because the imbalance came form girls not participating on the football team. Therefore on paper it looked like they were spending more money on the boy’s.

The second civil rights complaint is discrimination against Blacks and Hispanics with disabilities. The school district will have to investigate the different placement options for Black and Hispanics and compare it to children of other ethnicities.

Teachers play an integral role in the placement of students classified as special education. The best way to protect yourself from civil rights complaints is to:  

  • Document all classroom strategies that you implement for students before they are recommended for special education services.
  • Make sure that your recommendations are objective and not subjective. In many cases, when Black and Hispanic students have difficulty with teachers, the teacher will base their opinions on the basis of differences in verbal and non verbal behavior and not academic challenges.
  • Implement strategies recommended by special education teachers
  • Do not become frustrated with the students if the strategy does not work

The final civil rights complaint is individual retaliation and discrimination against Black and Hispanic students in the area of discipline. The area of discipline has long been a challenge for Hispanic and Black students. According to the United States Office of Education Department of Civil Rights, discipline problems for Black and Hispanic children begin in pre school. Black students represent 18% of the students attending pre school but represent 48% of the out of school suspensions. White students represent 43% of pre school students while only representing 26% of the out of school suspensions. On average Black students are three times more likely to be suspended from school when compared to White students. It was found that 5% of White students are suspended while 16% of Black students are suspended.

Black students are more likely to be arrested or referred to law enforcement when compared to White students. Black students represent 16% of the student population while representing 27% of the students referred to law enforcement and 31% are likely to be arrested for school related events. White students represent 51% of the student population while representing 41% of the students referred to law enforcement and only 39% are likely to be arrested.

Since at least 75% of student referrals for discipline are submitted by teachers, teachers will have to do a better job at validating their discipline referrals. The following will help teachers to protect themselves.

  • Allow students to develop classroom rules and violation consequences
  • Implement a progressive system of discipline
  • Make rules and progressive system of discipline publicly available for all students and adults
  • Make sure that recommended consequences are objective and not subjective
  • Quarterly review you quantity of discipline referrals to ensure that the strategies that arte in place benefit the academic atmosphere of your classroom

The above mentioned three strategies to guard against civil rights complaints will help teacher to continue to help students to achieve academically.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
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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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