Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are Schools Preparing Black Boys…For Prison

The headline for this article by the local Chicago Citizen Newspapers is frankly very shocking:
A Chicago mother recently filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education alleging a Chicago Public School security guard handcuffed her young son while he was a student at George Washington Carver Primary School on the city’s far south side. In the lawsuit, filed Aug. 29, LaShanda Smith says the guard handcuffed her son March 17, 2010 which resulted in “sustained injuries of a permanent, personal and pecuniary nature.”

According to media reports, Michael A. Carin, the attorney representing Smith says the youngster was among several six and seven year olds that were handcuffed by the guard for allegedly “talking in class”. The students were also allegedly told they would never see their parents again and were going to prison.

In a another incident April 13 of this year in Queens, New York a seven-year-old special education student in first grade was handcuffed and taken by ambulance to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after he reportedly became upset because he did not like the color of an Easter egg he decorated. The school says the child was spitting, would not calm down and was “threatening”.

In New Orleans, Sebastian and Robin Weston were plaintiffs in a 2010 class action lawsuit alleging their then six-year-old son was handcuffed and shackled to a chair by an armed security guard after the boy argued with another student over a chair.

“This must stop now. Our children are not animals and should not be treated this way,” Weston said in a statement.
In light of those anecdotes the conclusion starts to make sense:
[Umar Abdullah Johnson, president of National Movement to Save Black Boys] says a false image has been created that suggests Black boys are not interested in being educated, which is not true he argues. The emotional and psychological effects on a six and seven -year-olds from unfair and out-of-control disciplinary action like handcuffing is setting them up for criminality he explains.

“The first thing that type of behavior does is it socializes the boy at a very young age into criminal consciousness. He is nurtured by the school into an understanding that his role in society is that of a criminal,” says Johnson, a Pennsylvania certified school principle, lecturer and motivational coach. These methods and practices of handcuffing young Black boys takes away the stigma, sting and fear of incarceration he adds.

Overly harsh disciplinary policies sets the tone for students to become bored and frustrated with school which leads to increased drop-out rates and in many cases leads to greater involvement in the criminal justice system say youth advocates. Johnson agrees.

“When you put handcuffs on a six or seven year old there’s no need for that six or seven-year-old to fear incarceration when they’re 17 and 18-years-old,” he says.
The worst that happened to me back in the day at that age was corporal punishment, tape on the mouth, or even had my mouth washed out with soap. When did it become OK to handcuff children for something as minor as talking in class and threatening them with prison?

It was noted in the article that black boys only make up less than 25% of the student population of the Chicago Public Schools yet account for 57% of all expelled students. Are young black boys being singled out? If so why?

Also I remember the old saying. "They use standardized test for elementary school students to determine how many prisons to build". The more students who don't succeed on such exams to determine academic progress the more likely such students may turn to crime because they're having a hard time in life. That what's this article almost reminds me of.

Let me be clear however that old saying. I haven't verified it and I have an idea as to the source. Something I might have heard on TV. In fact it might have been the weekly broadcast produced by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-Push organization years ago. It's been a while since I was able to watch it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are now moderated because one random commenter chose to get comment happy. What doesn't get published is up to my discretion. Of course moderating policy is subject to change. Thanks!