How should educators respond to parent allegations of racism in schools?

In a recent article, South African parents have voiced their opposition to the reinstatement of a top level educator who allegedly perpetrates racism in schools. The top school educator was banned from the school for an entire month without pay as his punishment. The top educator must transform the perception that the parents have regarding the allegations of racism in schools.

According to the article, School Governing Body chairwoman Mary Magodielo said they were unhappy with the department’s decision to return the school’s former “racist principal without consulting us”.

“He called our children black b****rds who would never get into heaven and that he would teach them manners so they could teach us (manners),” she said. He is alleged to have also told the children to go back to the township schools where they belong. “He admitted to these claims and was only fined one month’s salary; that is how much our children’s dignity is worth according to the department. I mean, if he hates our children so much why does he even want to come back then?” Magodielo asked.

She said the principal had been gone since 2012 and was not even trained for the new Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement being used, so his return would not be in the pupils’ best interests.

“Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is contradicting himself if he proceeds with letting that man back here without listening to our pleas. At the inauguration of SGBs last week, he said it was up to us to ensure our children are afforded quality education, trained educators and to root out racism. That is what we are doing now,” said Magodielo.

Charl Swarts, a parent who arrived early to join the sit-in, said the root of the problem was a lack of communication between the parents and the department.

What is a good starting point to transform the perception that the parents have regarding racism in schools?

Since the teachers are on the front line working with the students, empowering teacher is the most effective way to transform the perception that parents have regarding the alleged racism in education. However, the top school leader should initialize and guide the entire process. It will help teachers to become aware of some of the racial differences that can lead to allegations of racism in schools.

Racial Differences

Teacher-student conflicts result from a difference in desires, and even though this difference may be reduced, it remains in schools. Cultural and racial background affects attitudes, beliefs, and values about education, ideas about how classes ought to be conducted, how students and teachers ought to interact, and what types of relationships are appropriate for students and teachers. The classroom conflict between teachers and students results from the different cultural and racial contexts that students and teachers bring to the classroom.

Some minorities believe they cannot trust White institutions. The result is that some 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. In particular, Black students are convinced that White teachers are racist and prejudiced and reject White teachers’ authority due to their experience with racism, and Black students who reach school develop a sharp distinction between acting Black and acting White. Black students frequently find themselves in classrooms where their culture, racial, and linguistic identities are under constant attack that manifests as a multitude of disciplinary actions, suspensions, and expulsions. Minority students are more likely to encounter teacher behavior that impedes their progress when compared to White students.

Teacher Student Relationships

Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning, behavior, and eliminating allegations of racism in schools. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning. Teachers can build positive teacher-student classroom relationships. The keys to positive relationships with students are:

  • Checking student knowledge by asking students what they already know
  • Providing students time to explore and discover
  • Celebrating student accomplishments
  • Respecting students, which includes expecting students to have wisdom, and
  • Exploring how they view things and discussing differences

Teachers develop positive relationships with students by engaging them in personal and meaningful dialogue that includes personal and nonacademic issues such as student interests, goals, aspirations, likes and dislikes, family, and culture.

The above list is not inclusive for promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships). However, this is a great stating point to transform the perception that parents have regarding allegations of racism in schools.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships

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“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

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“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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About Classroom Racism Management Specialist

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 Race Relations, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in Education, Structural Racism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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