Federal education officials are investigating claims of systemic unfair punishment of Black students.
Federal education officials investigating claims of systemic racial bias in Wake County, North Carolina schools held a meeting with African-American parents to hear evidence of discrimination and unfair punishments of their children, reports the News & Observer.
The meeting, which drew about 75 people to the Vital Link Centre near downtown Raleigh, was organized by the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Civil Rights in Mid-April as part of its probe into systemic racial bias at Wake County schools.
Many in the audience, including former high school students expressed their outrage about the hostile nature in which the school resource officers target Black students, and called for their immediate removal, according to the News & Observer.
Ajamu Dillahunt, a former student of Southeast Raleigh High School, who is now a freshman at N.C. Central University, called the SRO’s hostility “a war on Black students,” linking it to the widespread “war on Black America,” the newspaper reported.
According to the News & Observer, Gwen McKenzie, a parent who confronted a teacher for grabbing her son by his backpack, told the federal officials that she is a witness of how physical cruel and aggressive white teachers are with Black students.
“They try to break our boys when they are young,” McKenzie added.
The probe was prompted by a federal civil rights complaint from the state NAACP and other groups, who raised concerns about grave disparities in how punishments are meted to students from different racial background in the state’s schools.
During the 2014-2015 school years, black students accounted for 63 percent of suspensions and 69 percent of SRO’s court system referrals, despite representing just 24 percent of the school district’s students.
Moreover, the officers were nearly two times more likely to arrest a Black student for minor infractions compared to students of other races.
This trend of systemic unfair punishment of black students has been noticed and reported in many states across America.
It would require great efforts and serious concrete actions from federal officials, school boards and community leaders to curb such cruel acts.
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