Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
Be a duck, remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Sunday, July 5, 2020
Saturday, July 4, 2020
None of us are free.
None of us are free, if one of us are chained.
None of us are free.
Friday, July 3, 2020
Thursday, July 2, 2020
The Maryland State Board of Education presented a research report on school suspension and arrest rates at its board meeting on Tuesday. Although teachers cannot suspend students for insubordination, some continue to do so, state Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon said.
“The data is absolutely, unbelievably disproportionate for our Black and Brown children,” Salmon said. She later described the results as “horrendous”.
And then, I remembered.
Way back in 2012 I wrote this post about school resource officers. Although the post doesn’t mention him by name, it was written in reponse to statements from Board of Education candidate Corey Andrews. At seventeen, he was very likely the youngest candidate ever to run for a seat on the board. Andrews had serious concerns about the SRO program being expanded to middle schools.
I had spent a summer as a paraeducator in the summer school program at Long Reach High School. We had a great School Resource Officer. In my infinite wisdom, I decided that Andrews was young, over-reacting, and looking for an issue that didn’t exist. So I went in and sat down with my summer school colleagues to gather information for a blog post.
Yes, we all do things that make us wince later and this is definitely one for me. As dedicated as my former colleagues were, they were not going to be able to provide any perspective other than the one they were already committed to. Like it or not, they were representatives of the system. The fact that I liked and respected them did not change that.
Mr. Andrews ran for the Board several times. His commitment to this particular issue was unwavering. Here he is in 2016:
Andrews believes that this disparity, in addition to the "discipline gap," as he calls it, are contributing to the achievement gap.
"When you have African-American students being suspended at seven times the rate of white students, that is an equity issue," he said.
Yesterday, in an article by Jacob Calvin Meyer in the Baltimore Sun, this quote from a former Hammond High School graduate leapt off the page for me:
My first major concern was the presence of a police officer in the school who usually followed Black students around and made many of my peers feel targeted and under surveillance in a place that’s supposed to be a learning environment.
I have learned a lot since 2012. On this particular issue, the events of the last year have been particularly educational. It’s clear that the use of police in schools has resulted in a criminalizing of Black students because underlying attitudes prompt school personnel to view the behavior of Black students differently than that of white students. They view it differently, interpret it differently, and respond to it differently.
In many, many cases, the consequences for the same behaviors are wildly different depending on the color of your skin.
As State Schools Superintendent Karen Salmon says, the data is absolutely, unbelievably disproportionate for our Black and Brown children. It’s horrendous. Not just state-wide, but here in Howard County. The students who sent a one hundred page petition to the Board of Education had plenty to say about this and other issues which contribute to upholding structural and institutional racism.
Like Corey Andrews, they see school resource officers as an equity issue. And, like students all over the country, they want to see police officers removed from schools.
I think they are right. No matter how good, or kind, or devoted any one individual resource officer may be, the institution itself threatens the educational opportunities for Black and Brown students throughout the system. That’s what makes it an equity issue.
And so, dear readers: I was wrong. At seventeen, Corey Andrews knew from his own personal experience something I, as an “adult”, did not comprehend. Today we are elevating the voices of students and paying a lot of attention to their concerns.
I would have been wiser to have done the same back in 2012.