How should schools involve students in discussions regarding racism?


The public reaction to the recent presidential travel band has placed schools in the hot seat for involving students in discussions regarding racism. It is a mistake for many schools to take on this type of initiative. Schools that have a history of disproportionate discipline or a prominent achievement gap are asking for a “black eye”. Or even worst, an onslaught of civil rights complaints. Schools must implement a two step process that involves empowering teachers before considering having student discussions regarding racism.

According to the article, Arlington High School ‘teach-in’ draws mixed reaction, the efforts to involve students in discussions regarding racism by Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, NY has failed. It was reported that several parents complained about the schools initiative and the related workshops were not well attended by the majority of the student body.

The teach-in was designed as a day-long “in-school field trip,” said Arlington Superintendent of Schools Brendan Lyons. If students wanted to attend all eight periods, they needed a permission slip. Students who only attended for one period with their teachers during class did not need a permission slip.

The majority of the school’s students did not attend the teach-in, Lyons added. “There were maybe 50 students per period,” and some of those students were among those with permission slips, attending the full day. This is the equivalent of 12% of the student population participation in the school district’s initiative. A grade of  ‘F’ for their efforts.

The problem begins with the structure of the initiative. The first challenge is the content of the workshops. The speakers included Vassar history professor Maria Höhn, one of the founders of the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance, Mehmet Kucukozer, an assistant professor at Dutchess Community College, Anwar Kearney, an imam (prayer leader) of Masjid al Mutakabbir in Poughkeepsie, and the school’s resource officer, a Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office deputy, among others. It appears that the concentration of instruction centered on the dilemma that has been created by the recent presidential travel band and the consequences for violating the law.

The second problem is associated with the process for developing the initiative to involve students in discussions regarding racism. According to the article, the event drew complaints from a handful of parents, some of whom questioned the content of the event and the speakers, while others felt the school did not give proper notice to parents. Additionally, “the district saw some traffic (comments about the teach-in) on our Facebook page,” Lyons said. “I got a call, the high school principal did probably take eight to 10 calls” of complaints. The school did not make a concerted effort to include historically underserved parents and the community.

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What is the two step process that is needed before involving students in discussions regarding racism?

The first step is to eliminate disproportionate discipline. It is a well known fact that disproportionate discipline is the first indicator of a school or school district that embraces the perception of racism. The United States Department of Education reported that while Black students represent 16 percent of the U.S. student population, they accounted for 32 percent of the students suspended and 42 percent of those expelled. Black students also experience the highest rate of multiple suspensions.

How can a school expect to transform students thinking through the involvement of student discussion regarding racism without first ensuring that they themselves are not the perpetuators? Schools can eliminate disproportionate discipline by using the Raccelerate Formula.

The second step is to eliminate the perception of racism in their school or school district. One of the primary factors of a school that possesses the perception of racism is the feedback from historically underserved students and parents. The best way to eliminate this perception is through an initiative that Promotes Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships. Schools can utilize the Raccelerate Achievement Portfolio (R.A.P) to evaluate the perception of racism in their school before entertaining the need for student discussions regarding racism.

Related Articles

How should DeWitt Public Schools create plans to tackle racially motivated incidents?

How can Schools eliminate the school discipline racism label?

Why did the school violence increase in Milwaukee Public Schools?

All the best,


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

The Raccelerate Phenomenon

Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education

 3D (1)     Educational Racism Book     Racism Bookicon_r

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools


“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


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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 Classroom Management, Community Relations, Discrimination, Donald Trump, institutional Racism, Leadership, Positive Teacher Student Relationships, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, racial discrimination, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in America, Racism in Education, School Discipline, Structural Racism, The Raccelerate Formula, The Raccelerate Phenomenon, Violence in Schools and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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