Gender and Racial Discrimination in Public School Punishment
The American education system is based on inequalities and disparities in terms of the treatment that the students get from the administration. This is because the first incidence of disproportionality of punishment based on race and gender was first documented by the children’s defence force in 1975 and up to until now the situation has not changed it is still the same. The differences in the way the students are treated is mostly based on two conditions.
The first condition is the stereotype that is always surrounding the people in different race and gender. White people have always been viewed as superior and better that any other race, while African American and Latin American are viewed as ignorant, violent and ready to engage in bad behaviours. Most coloured students are associated with gangs and sale of illegal contraband. This leads to punishment awarded to the white students to be less in terms of magnitude as compared to when it is an African American or Latin American student. These differences are seen as in the way the same misconduct is addressed by the same administration to students from different racial background.
These stereotypes are based information that can easily be accessed by the public. For instance the CDF report,(2010), in conjunction with the University of Illinois came up the following data on the students in Illinois, African-Americans students make up 17% of overall public school enrolment, at the same time 21% of them are enrolment in classes meant for students with mild or severe mental problems. In the overall school population, the Latin- American students make up 23% of those enrolled in programs for students with mild mental retardation.
The second factor is gender discrimination; this is because girls are viewed to be less violent and soft in nature as opposed to the boys. This has led to complete discrimination against the boy child in the same institution. According to a journal written by Russell et al, (2002), when a female student acts out in class, she is said to be expressing anger from other areas in her life and is sent to the guidance and counsellor to talk and express her emotions. However the case is not the same for the boy child, this is because if he happens to act out in class he is said to be violent and is given a suspension and even at times an expulsion.
The third factor is socio-economic status; this is because most of the children from the minority groups come from either middle class or poor families. This is a situation where their parents are both working in blue collar jobs or one parent has no job and the other one works in a casual job (Russell et al, 2002). This usually makes the student to be more of a liability to the school than of benefit. According to the Children’s Defence Fund report, (2010), most of the schools cater for the poor children’s tuition fee and lunch. This means the more poor children a school has the more it spends on them. Expulsion of a student from a poor family saves the school money. This means that at times the students from the minority groups are cut from the education system as a step by the schools to be cost effective.
According to the CDF report, (2010), 8% of the minority race students had parents working in white collar jobs. 22% had both parents working either blue collar or white collar jobs. 42% had their school tuition paid by the school bursary, while 37% had part of their lunch catered for by the school. More than half of the high school drop outs are from minority groups and most of the high school gangs formed are in minority neighbourhoods.
The two above three conditions being true, then life in school for a male student from the minority group, who comes from a poor family, must be very hard. Because he is discriminated and awarded heavier punishment based on aspects of his life that he cannot change and has no control over (Russell et al, 2002). The education system in America was founded not to be based on such aspects but on the actual performance of a student, the value of education in a person is not determined by their race and gender but the way they utilize it in their daily lives.
According to the CDF’s report, (2010), children spent more than 2/3 of their active day in school and this means that there is need to ensure that the environment in which they are exposed to is one that shows them what the American spirit stands for: equality regardless. The above mentioned discrimination leads to loss of creative and innovative minds as students in the minority groups feel inferior and are not given the chance to fully explore their potential. They end up believing that people the minority group were meant to be poor, to be involved in crime and mostly education has no place for them. Yet this is far from the truth because a good role model is His Excellency the president Barrack Obama.
Making the white students feel superior only leads them to becoming more and more racists and limits the chances that would have been properly used had they been taught otherwise. In a world where feminism is on everybody’s tongue and gender equality is exercised in all areas of the country. Judging and discriminating based on gender goes a long way is crushing what feminism has created for centuries. The world out there expects a woman to be as tough as a man, however when girls are papered at school, they learn that they can be able to get away with doing something wrong simply because they are women. They are ill prepared for the world as there is no policy anywhere that works that way. Internationally women and men are given equal chances, work under same laws and receive the same punishments. The teachers should know better than to encourage that.
Most of the role models that children have when they are young are their teachers; this means that development of reactions can be easily controlled by teachers practising what they preach. Allow the child to learn from their behaviours and follow suit. Children who are ever punished especially harshly always end up being violent and not caring for the consequences. Children that are favoured learn not be independent as their battles are always fought for. They become underachievers and want to have someone to take care of them. This means that the American education system if it continues as such it will bring out fragile girls who cannot be able to fight for gender equality; they will believe that the law will always favour them. Dependent white boys that cannot be able to lead but must be led who believe that the law was meant for them and no one else and violent and abusive minority boys that believe they are inferior and have to be violent because everybody is unfair towards them and no one understands them.
At an international level, due to differences people are based and what they have to offer, the American education system does not give the students the necessary knowhow to be able to compete at the international level because it is busy stereotyping the students and being cost effective.
The one recommendation that would be of major assistance in the education system is one: ensure there is equality, equal treatment, same punishment and same rules to be used.
Children’s Defence Fund. (2010). State of American Children: The Education System: Inequalities and Disparities, Cambridge, MA: Washington Research Project.
Russell J. Skiba, Robert S. Michael, Abra Carroll Nardo, and Reece L. Peterson, (2002), The Colour of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality In School Punishment, University of Illinois Print Press
Children’s Defence Fund. (1975). School Suspensions: Are They Helping Children? Cambridge, MA: Washington Research Project.