The growing issue of policing Black students in school

Policing Black students in School (Photo Source: YouTube Screen Shot)
(Photo source: YouTube screenshot)

The recent altercation between a Spring Valley High School student and a now-fired school resource officer has raised many questions regarding student conduct. More specifically, how do schools deal with children who have emotional or psychological issues? Currently, the focus is on Black students but it is an issue that affects all races. When a school resource officer comes in contact with a student it’s oftentimes a reactive and not proactive encounter.

Many have the opinion that these are just kids and should be handled with special consideration. But there can be no doubt that some of these kids are just plain violent and push ordinary school staff to their limits with anti-social behavior. Students who do not have any respect for authority in large, inner-city schools are a growing problem. But in the age of the cellphone video, people generally only see one side of the story. Attacking a teacher and having it filmed can often result in a misplaced “street cred” for a student.

Mainstream media seems only to focus on Black students when these incidents happen, and in today’s racial climate it is juxtaposed with the Black Lives Matter movement. Children are creating juvenile records that will follow them into adulthood because of their violent behavior. Anger issues, ADD, ADHD and other psychological issues have grown to what seems an epidemic proportion in schools when it comes to Black youth.

It’s  counterproductive to think “Oh, they will grow out of this behavior” and not doing what is necessary to alter the behavior. The shame of having a misbehaving child in school is not being handled correctly in the home. Students who are not being treated by a professional counselor are instead treated with a leather belt by some parents. It comes down to parents becoming involved in the lives of their children not only at home but at school. Many of these children did not just develop their negative attitudes in school, but brought these attitudes to the learning environment. It’s a problem and subject that seems almost taboo in the Black community, having a son or daughter who is labeled a troublemaker in school.

The 6-7 hours that a child spends in school leaves the raising of children to a staff of hardworking teachers and administrators and, in some cases, ill-equipped  schools. It is fundamentally up to the parents to become involved in the education of their child. Joining and attending PTA meetings is not an option for these parents, it is a necessity. Their participation, combined with attending or requesting parent–teacher conferences before an incident occurs, is one viable solution.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.



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