“They claim our kids are the ‘problem’, yet provide no treatment or intervention for this ‘problem’.”– Tatyana Donaldson

Keep in mind that this blog post is only opinions. It’s no secret that there is a lack of Black people sitting at the tables of these organizations that continuously release statistics saying that our Black children are the problem. Because of poverty, neighborhood environment, violence, crime, etc. they claim our kids are always predisposed to all types of conditions that automatically deem them as the problem. Yet when the conversation turns towards how we can alleviate these “problems” the same people are silent about the solutions.

So do our children really have this problem they say they have? No. It’s purely propaganda to keep the message of Black people being to blame for systems we can’t even control. They made sure of that. Below is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on school-based social emotional interventions that are targeted towards Black students diagnosed with Emotional/Behavioral disorders (EBD). This research paper led me to my why and explains how Black students continue to be identified as “problems” but yet aren’t provided with any solutions or interventions similar to their White peers.

“Black students, males and students with disabilities continue to be disproportionately excluded in terms of discipline (GAO, 2018).  These populations of students are often criminalized in public school systems as early as pre-kindergarten and are being suspended at higher rates than same-aged peers of other races, genders, and abilities. Suspensions do not solve disciplinary issues. Instead, they impede the student’s growth and leads to the likelihood of the student to repeat a grade, become suspended or enter the juvenile justice system (GAO, 2018). Black boys were suspended at a higher rate in 2013-14. Black boys represented about 15.5% of all students in the public-school system, but were suspended at a rate of 39%, an overrepresentation of 23% (GAO, 2018). With the added layer of mental health and a diagnosis of emotional/behavioral disabilities, it makes navigating the spaces of public schools even more difficult. 

Not only are Black students disproportionately represented in discipline statistics, they are also overrepresented in special education. During the 2017-18 school year, students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD), represented 5% of students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Office of Special Education Programs, 2018 ).   Black students represented 7% of students served diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities, an overrepresentation of about 2% (Office of Special Education Programs, 2018 ).  The issue is that these statistics may not represent a factual picture of Black students in the school system. Schools are one of the most significant units of socialization. Not only do schools serve to educate on subjects, schools also serve to help produce solid members of society. This is shown through certain behaviors that are taught such as to sit still, do not move, and do not challenge authority. When students display behaviors that are problematic, it is viewed as even more challenging when it is demonstrated by Black students (Simmons-Reed, Cartledge 2014; Webb-Johnson, 2002 ).  Teachers often are not trained on how to respond to these different behaviors and schools usually resort to methods of discipline such as expulsions and suspensions.”

What I found through doing this research is African American students diagnosed with EBD continue to be disproportionately excluded through discipline in the school systems. Yet very little interventions were created nor utilized to alleviate the “issues” that many school systems claim to have seen. Instead of interventions, they funnel our kids through the school to prison pipeline. But when White kids have “issues” new research is released discussing interventions that can assist such as Social-Emotional Learning Foundations (SELF), School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBS) and SAFE practices. Our Black kids continue to be disproportionately neglected ya’ll.

With Love,

Tatyana

Published by This is Tatyana

I am a new blogger, current MSW student, and a special educator. I am also someone who is battling mental health. Through this blog, my hope is to engage others in discussions regarding mental health, systemic racism, Black women and children, and the intersections of social justice and education.

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