Hispanics are often twice as likely to be suspended.
The number one reason for suspension? Disrespecting a teacher.
This is an incredibly subjective reason, which depends on the sensitivity of the teacher and what a child has been raised to think is disrespectful.
While black and Hispanic students may often hail from high-crime urban areas and perhaps single-family abodes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those factors make them disciplinary problems, although it does add a level of frustration and aggression that may spill over into the classroom – which is understandable.
Some teachers are quick to perceive slight because they are underpaid, stressed out and angry.
Also, some minority children might simply be over-perceived as problematic by teachers with cultural bias who don’t understand cross-cultural behavioral patterns.
Most modern teachers are required to complete courses in the management of a multicultural classroom. These recent stats show they might not be paying close attention.
Such courses routinely discuss how some cultures view certain behaviors differently. For example, in one diversity workshop for teachers, a speaker said that in African-American culture it is seen as fake or inauthentic to obey someone you do not like. Reject this concept as silly, if you choose, but the ethos in some urban cultures is that respect is a honor given to a person you have grown to admire and accept. It isn’t handed out automatically, just because someone holds the title of teacher.
For this reason, many diversity facilitators urge teachers to begin forging real personal connections with minority students the moment they enter the classroom. This makes it much easier to enforce rules and maintain order.
What’s often missing in schools today is the sense of genuine relationship between teacher and pupil.
Instead of being so quick to kick an ethnic child out of school, educators should be trying to build bonds and help students overcome the frustrations causing their behaviors.
I am not absolving parents and students of responsibility, but it far too easy for teachers to think they are not a part of the problem.