How should teachers respond to Freddie Gray incident?

In a recent incident, the death of a local Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has prompted demonstrations and looting amid calls for peace that have resulted from alleged police brutality. Presently, the town has shut down to include schools, businesses, and government offices. The Freddie Gray incident has provided opportunities for teachers to transform the perceptions that Black students have regarding the intentions of White teachers.

According to the article, Mr. Freddie Gray was chased and restrained by the police on bicycles at the Gilmor Homes, a public housing development in northwest Baltimore, on the morning of April 12; a cellphone video of his arrest shows him being dragged into a police transport van, seemingly limp, and screaming in pain.

The police have acknowledged that he should have received medical treatment immediately at the scene of the arrest, and have also said that he rode in the van unbuckled, prompting speculation here that he may have been given a “rough ride,” in which he was intentionally jostled. After officers got him to the police station, medics rushed him to the hospital, where he slipped into a coma and died on April 19.

Six officers have been suspended with pay while the Baltimore Police Department carries out a criminal investigation. (Some demonstrators on Saturday carried signs reading, “No paid vacations.”) The Justice Department is also reviewing the case for possible civil rights violations, and Mr. Gray’s family has hired a third party to conduct an independent investigation.

Angry youths could be seen surrounding a police cruiser and smashing its windows in what police described as an organized attack by criminals — not demonstrators. Cars were set on fire, and stores’ windows were smashed in. Heavy smoke poured out of a CVS drugstore, which had earlier been overrun by looters. Looting was also reported at several other businesses, including a liquor store and a check-cashing shop as well as stores within the Mondawmin Mall.

Many of the youths in Baltimore will perceive the same power structure that the police have with that of the Baltimore City teachers.

This perception will cause friction between teachers and students as well as students and students. Students who perceive teachers in the same category as the Baltimore police who were involved in the Freddie Gray incident will have disagreements with teachers.

Some minorities believe they cannot trust White institutions. Adolescents may develop oppositional social identities that are contrary to the social expectations of mainstream society when they experience racism and respond with anger and rebellion. Black students are convinced that White teachers are racist and prejudiced and reject White teachers’ authority due to their experience with racism. These perceptions will lead to conflict between teachers and Black students as a result of the Freddie Gray incident.

This perception will cause fights amongst students. Some students will take the side of the teachers and the police while other students will stand in opposition of the teachers. This will become the cause for many fights amongst students. These differences in opinions will lead to bullying too.

Baltimore City teachers can respond to the Freddie Gray incident by utilizing the following steps:

  • When students return to your classroom greet them with a smile. Since Blacks often probe beyond a given statement to find out where a person is “coming from,” a smile will reveal the intentions of the teachers. Furthermore, cognitive learning increases when teachers smile at the class and students. Teachers who smile are perceived as friendly while a frowning teacher is perceived as mean or grumpy.
  • Develop a lesson plan that will facilitate a discussion regarding the Freddie Gray incident. Open the lesson with the following statement: I am your teacher and I want to ensure the success of your future. Therefore we are going to talk about the Freddie Gray incident.
  • Make sure that your lesson plans aligns with the Baltimore City Public Schools curriculum. Design a rubric that uses PowerPoint presentation. Schools require Black students to demonstrate achievement by writing, which requires Black students to transition from demonstrating by oral or dramatic expression activities that Black students are more comfortable with and more likely to have higher achievement levels
  • Avoid any lesson plan regarding Freddie Gray that requires a classroom question and answer session between the teacher and students. Cultural conflicts between the teacher and Black students may surface because of basic question-and-answer sessions because question-and-answer sessions develop when an adult is angry with them. Blacks learn that question-and-answer sessions result when an adult is angry with them, and this process may inhibit students from classroom involvement.
  • Have students to work in cooperative learning groups. When teachers require only cognitive activities, Black students feel the request is unnatural and have difficulty following the teacher’s request, which results in frustration and withdrawal for Black students. When Black students do not honor the teacher’s request to participate in cognitive activities, teachers perceive that Black students lack preparation or ability.

The most important aspect of the lesson is that the teacher must not voice their personal opinion regarding the Freddie Gray incident.

Related Articles

National Guard Activated in Baltimore as Police and Youths Clash After Funeral for Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray funeral draws mournful throng in Baltimore

Riot erupts after funeral for man hurt in police custody

See the Clashes in Baltimore After Freddie Gray’s Funeral


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.
This entry was posted in Community Relations, Police Community Relations, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in Education, School Discipline, Structural Racism, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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