In a recent article, a former Chicago Bear football player, Desmond Clark, has accused Vernon Hills High School officials of perpetuating a culture of racism against their son. The parent is expressing a concern that many Black parents face today. Vernon Hills High School officials can avoid future racial allegations by transforming into a culture that embraces all ethnicities.
According to the article, Ex-Bear Clark and wife face charges in Vernon Hills: say they’re victims of racism, Clark and his wife responded to a complaint from their son regarding a confrontation with an administrator. Their son reported that the Vernon Hills High School administrator demeaned him in front of his peers.
Their son was participating in a school activity as part of the lip-sync team. The team was competing that next weekend and wanted to acknowledge his efforts since he was not allowed to participate in the event. The son was not allowed to participate due to an earlier school violation. The administrator told their son, “this is an activity for good students who make good decisions.” Their son responded to the administrator, ‘Am I a criminal because I made one mistake?” The female administrator responded, “If he wants to act like a criminal, he can get out.”
It appears that the female administrator has minimal value for students from different cultures. Vernon Hills High School can avoid future racial allegations by establishing a culture of positive racial relationships between students and educators.
What are the benefits for Vernon Hills High School staff to develop positive racial relationships amongst educators and historically underserved students?
Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and educators who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning.
Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, educators, 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 educator-student relationships result in increased job satisfaction. Educators who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Educators 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 educators who tend to form close friendships with their students.
What are some of the factors that could inhibit the growth of positive racial relationships at Vernon Hills High School?
Racial differences between educators and students influence positive teacher-student classroom relationship development. Educator-student conflicts result from a difference in desires, and even though this difference may be reduced, it remains in schools. Cultural background has an impact on attitudes, beliefs, and values about education, ideas about how classes should to be conducted, how students and teachers should interact, and what types of relationships are appropriate for students and educators. The classroom conflict between teachers and students results from the different cultural contexts that students and teachers bring to the classroom.
Teachers discriminate against students by stereotyping according to ethnicity. Teachers are more likely to have negative academic and behavioral expectations regarding Black students compared to expectations of White students. White teachers have more negative attitudes toward Black children and rate Black students more negatively when compared to White students. White teachers rate Black male children more deviant when compared to White children. White teachers direct more criticism toward Black males and rate Black male children personalities more negatively when compared to White male children. White teachers perceive White students more positively when compared to Black students.
Vernon Hills High School staff can only expect additional opposition unless they make a conscious decision to embrace all ethnicities by promoting positive racial relationships.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. www.positiveracialrelationships.com 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