Black children face discrimination in the classroom at a disproportionate rate to their white counterparts. They are given harsher punishments and are reprimanded more frequently than other students. Earlier this year, a Stanford University study found that teachers of all races are more likely to punish black students than white students. A 2012 Department of Education study found that black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students.
Although studies show how wide this gap is, they don’t often show the personal stories of the children. Here are six instances of black children who’ve faced unfair punishment in their schools:
Earlier this week, deputy Ben Fields, a South Carolina school officer, grabbed a female student from her desk and dragged her across the floor after she reportedly refused to leave class.
Eighteen-year-old Niya Kenny stood up for her classmate after a South Carolina officer manhandled and forced her classmate out of her chair. “I was just crying and he said, since you have so much to say you are coming too,” Kenny told WLTX 19. “I just put my hands behind my back.”
Courtesy of Mariana Broussard
In 2014, Jalyn Broussard’s teacher called his mother to tell her Broussard couldn’t return to school until his he cut his hair.
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Before receiving some major backlash, an Ohio charter school, with a 26 percent black population, attempted to ban afro-puffs and small twisted braids in 2013.
In 2013, Faith Christian Academy gave 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke a week to cut her natural hair or be expelled because it was described as a distraction. Fortunately, VanDyke was able to remain in school without cutting or straightening her hair after administrators changed their minds.
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A Louisiana school district kicked a student who practices the Rastafarian faith out of school for wearing dreadlocks in 2014. He was able to return after the American Civil Liberties Union came to his defense.