have heard so many suggestions as to how we can fix our education system and why so many are left behind when it comes to pursuing their secondary education. Some suggest the availability of Pell Grants and other opportunities for those seeking student loans to be able to get them. Others speak of teacher and school administration accountability. While other talk of reducing class sizes and finding more gifted teachers to educate our young. While all of those are true and they all are things that should be address, the real reason that our education system is broken is not being brought up at all.
The real reason that our education system is broken and many minority students are left behind is simply the degree of which teachers, administrators and government refuse to address one single concern. That concern is student’s rights. As fragile as a child’s mind is, they need more than the mental and emotional support from parents to achieve their dreams. They need the support of one or more to be successful; they need a student’s union.
Case in point, yesterday my nephew was suspended from school because he was standing in the doorway watching a fight between two others in the hallway just outside their room with all of the other kids in that class. They was instructed by the teacher to return to their seat and apparently he did not move fast enough for the teacher and this caused the adult to put his hands on him. My nephew brushed off this teachers touch not once but twice and fifteen minutes later was escorted from the classroom. In the legal world would not the teacher putting his hands on my nephew be considered assault or does the fact of his trouble past override any consideration. According to the description given to my mother who has guardianship over my nephew and asked me to help get him on the right track, it happened completely different than what was told to my by my nephew.
It was explained that there was a fight outside of the building and my nephew was watching it through the window along with all of the other kids in his class. They were all instructed to return to their seats and all of the other kids did just that except for my nephew. My nephew refused to sit back down and started to head for the door of the classroom. The teacher’s thought was that he was going to join the fight and decided to use his own body as a barricade to block my nephews’ exit. The teacher held out both arms to further prevent this escape and that was when my nephew struck his arm. In the legal world would not the teacher barricading the door to block my nephew from leaving be considered unlawfully imprisonment/detainment or does the fact of his trouble past override any consideration.
A student union would have allowed them to represent my nephew before the decision was made to suspend and argue these very same points. Teachers have their union and so do so many others protected groups but what group is more important to protect than our children.
The sad part about this entire ordeal was the statement made by the Vice Principal when she said that all that she does is take the teacher at their word of what happens in the classroom. That may work for the teacher’s union but it serves the children not at all. It’s in these situations which occur frequently that a child then decides that school is a waste of time and they choose to no longer look to an education as the way forward. They tend to look at education as an excuse for parents to have some free time or teachers to work out their frustrations. They see it as some form of punishment instead of an avenue to their dreams. They began to look for shortcuts and seriously search for a way out. Whether it’s through dropping out, joining a gang or committing suicide. This has to change and is the most prevalent problem facing many minority students. A teacher in one of the middle schools were over heard telling a group of minorities student that she did not have to expend much effort in trying to teach them to read, write or do math because many of them were going to end up in jail anyway. There in jail, she continued, they will not need to know how to do these things. This is the lessons that we are teaching our young minority students if not through our words, through our actions. This is the lesson that they learn early in their journey through this educational system and once that lesson is learned, it is a most difficult task to remove it for parents and the community.
It is my task and one that I gladly accept to work even harder to make sure that this lesson does not take root with my nephew but what about those we don’t see that deserves the same? We need to shift our focus and concentrate on dispelling this myth before many more are lost but maybe this is the intent of those in charge.