According to a recent article, petitioners are pushing to have several confederate named schools renamed. Renaming a school will not discontinue the perpetual racism that continues to plague Black students. The only way to eliminate racism associated with a confederate named school is to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).
According to the article, more that 890 people have signed an online petition to rename two Fairfax County high schools which are named for Confederate leaders and a third school which was named for a school superintendent who has a questionable role in the desegregation of schools. The online petition is seeking to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School, Robert E. Lee High School and W.T. Woodson High School.
Jeb Stuart, who has a confederate named school, was a leader for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He helped General Robert E. Lee suppress the raid at Harper’s Ferry. He also served as a colonel at the Battle of Bull Run and was promoted to general.
Robert E. Lee was a leader for the Confederate Army. In October 1859, Robert E. Lee was summoned to put an end to a slave insurrection led by John Brown at Harper’s Ferry. Lee’s attack ended the revolt in one hour. Lee turned down an offer from President Abraham Lincoln to command the Union forces. Lee resigned from the military and returned to Virginia. Lee agreed to help lead the Confederate forces after Virginia voted to secede the nation on April 18, 1861. In May 1862, he took control of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and drove back the Union Army in Richmond in the seven days of battle. In August of the same year, he gave the Confederacy a crucial victory at second Manassas.
Wilbur Tucker Woodson was superintendent of the Fairfax County school district from the 1930s until the mid – 60s. He opposed school desegregation in the 1950s and one of his defining acts was to fire a Black cafeteria worker who attempted to enroll her children in the district’s all-White schools.
A confederate named school only represents the symbolic nature of a school. What makes a school racist is it’s cultural nature.
What perceptions do Black students have that can lead to confrontations at confederate named schools?
When incorporating students into a marginalized society by slavery, conquest, and colonization, students believe school is detrimental to their identity. Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks share the same experience of being bought to the United States against their will and then relegated to a subordinate status.
Americans of color adapt to a society that does not value their ethnicity, history, heritage, or language by establishing societal survival strategies. Black parents prepare their children to live in a dual cultural world that involves helping them to develop skills for adult roles such as wage earners and parenthood in addition to negotiating a dominant society that has different cultural values and judges people by their skin color or ethnic background. Blacks who live in an urban society and a society that dislikes them for the color of their skin ensure they do not become victims by approaching people with caution, wariness, and a sense of distrust.
Student perceptions and feelings regarding teachers and themselves influence student achievement. Students do better in school when they believe getting a good education will increase their chances for success. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Children who have positive feelings regarding teachers have higher achievement levels. Black and Latino urban high school students believe their underachievement results when they perceive racism and discrimination toward them and become limited by American society.
Why is important for teachers at confederate named schools to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships?
Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in increased teacher job satisfaction. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students.
Teachers can use several of the following strategies for confederate named schools:
- Use the Raccelerate Racism Formula which is derived from the Raccelerate Phenomenon
- Exclude the usage of negative criticism, embarrassment, and humiliation
Finally, offset the stigma associated with confederate named schools by incorporating as many positive interactions with students as possible.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President