In a recent article, president Obama is cited for creating a racism database that impacts how schools will operate in the future. The database is not limited to schools and will provide the world a geographical view of problematic areas. Schools will need to prepare for the racism database backlash to avoid any possible civil rights litigation.
According to the article, Obama is collecting personal data for a secret race database. The Obama administration is collecting racial data on health, home loans, credit cards, places of employment, and educational statistics to include the disciplining of children in order to ascertain the inequalities that may exist between Whites and minorities.
Much of this data is available through other governmental entities which is not available to the public. For the first time the public will become privy to this magnitude of racism data which has never been available in the past.
Why should schools prepare for the racism database backlash?
The first reason that schools should prepare for the racism database backlash is because the media attention will become an embarrassment for the school district. When a school district is unable to appropriately respond to racism allegations the school district and it’s employees lose credibility. The school losses credibility with students, parents, and the community. Along with the lost of credibility is the loss of trust. The community will now demand a higher level of accountability from the entire school district which in the long run will become costly. The normal response for additional school cost is to raise taxes. Raising taxes is normally met with opposition resulting in the school having to cut staff and supplies as an alternative.
The enormous cost of civil rights litigation is another reason that schools need to prepare for the racism database backlash. They will need to hire an attorney and in many cases will need to hire specialized representation. If there is a need for a settlement, the school district will incur additional cost. Since most racism settlements are paid by insurance, insurance companies will increase their premiums. Ultimately, this cost for the school district can result in a reduction in staff as well as resources that are needed for students.
The Canyons School District is an example of the cost of civil litigation associated with racism claims. A former student alleged that while at the Alta High School he was the victim of ongoing and ignored racist behavior. the claimant settled out of court for $100,000 which does not include attorney costs. This is almost the cost of at least two teachers, or one school administrator as well as an assortment of student resources.
The lost of employment is another cause for the need that schools should prepare for the racism database backlash. For example, several school employees have lost their jobs due to acts associated with racism. Nancy Gordeuk, a former school principal yelled during a school graduation ceremony, “You people are being so rude to not listen to this speech. It was my fault that we missed the speech in the program.” She went on to say, “Look who’s leaving! All the black people.” The racial remarks resulted in the termination of the principal. The cost associated with rehiring another school principal could be in excess of $125,000 because to rehire someone that makes $100,000 it can cost up to 25% in hidden costs.
Gil Voigt, a Fairfield Freshman School science teacher, was terminated for stating “We do not need another black president.” This teacher had a history of making racial comments. In 2008, he was accused of calling a student, “African-American Rudolph” while pointing a laser pointer at the students. In 2013, he received a verbal warning for calling a student “stupid” and other students “gay”.
The term African-American Rudolph is associated with Wilma Rudolph. Wilma Rudolph was and American track and field sprinter who became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field. She was also regarded as a civil rights and woman’s rights pioneer. Rudolph protested that her hometown victory parade should be an integrated event rather than a segregated event with was the protocol according to the Jim Crow laws.
The first area that schools should evaluate is minority student discipline. This is the first category that the public and government officials will use to determine if racism exists in schools. Schools will benefit by using The Raccelerate Racism Formula as a tool to evaluate discipline in the classroom and schools.
The next area that schools will need to evaluate are schools polices. When there is an allegation of racism, the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will evaluate the polices and procedures in place to respond to racism allegations. Schools can use a committee of persons that include staff, parents, and students to agree on policies and procedures for making racism ineffective in schools.
Finally, schools can respond to the potential racism database backlash by becoming proactive and instituting an initiative that promotes positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
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