As we are several months into the new school year, teachers and students are starting to feel a bit more relaxed with being back in the classroom, especially after nearly three years of COVID-19 restrictions and remote learning. Yet, this is also the time where things can and sometimes most definitely do start to break down between teacher and student, causing students to be singled out, especially students of color. Here are some steps that you can take if your child is being singled out at school.
We all know that many schools and school districts are still plagued with systemic issues in relation to race and equity. As a parent, according to the experts in a recent Parents.com article, it’s important to try to take a measured approach if you suspect your child’s teacher has said or done something insensitive or indicative of racial bias, or has unfairly singled out your Black child.
Here are some steps that you can take to ensure that you and the teacher communicate openly and the issue is resolved in the best interest of the student.
Talk to Your Child (Again) And Document Exactly What Happened
First, let your child know that you need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Stress to them that they are not going to get in trouble for anything that they tell you. Next, “interview” your child. Have them start from the beginning and as they are recanting the details, write them down. Document times, dates, names, other children, etc. Make sure that you have as much pertinent information as possible. If your child says that there are other children that have experienced similar things, talk to their parents too.
Do not rush to judgment
Sift through the information and do not rush to judgement. Make sure that you have all the who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s straight before coming to a conclusion on any action that needs to take place.
Follow the School’s Chain of Command This one is extremely important! Do not bypass the teacher or responsible adult. Follow the school’s chain of command. This will help you in the long run and the administration will take you more serious if you follow the outlined steps to report an incident.
Do Your Research on the School’s Racial Demographics, Equity Committees, and Culture
If you are new to the school or have been there since day one, research the school’s racial demographics, equity committees, and culture. You need to even go as far as to research the diversity among teachers and school staff. To help with your research, you may want to consult websites like: InsideSchools and GreatSchools.
Reach Out to Parents Whose Children May Have Experienced Similar Issues
Check-in with other parents to see if their children have experienced similar issues to your child in regards to treatment by teachers and/or staff in the school. However, always verify verify where your sources of information are coming from after you swap stories. If the issue is more widespread and multiple parents are hearing the same things from their own children, then it is time to speak out as a collective group to bring about change. The campus school administration and beyond will definitely take notice.
Last but not least, make sure, above all else, to prioritize your child’s well-being and mental health.