How can discipline referrals regarding student fights fuel racism?

Recent racial allegations in schools have lead schools to rethink the process for implementing discipline for Black students which include discipline referrals. Without such strategies racial allegations will continue to be at the center of civil litigation for many schools. Many of the problems associated with discipline referrals that are deemed racist are associated with the information submitted. Teachers are on the front line and in most cases, as a group, they will submit the majority of discipline referrals. In most schools, teachers may submit anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of the discipline referrals. Once a discipline referral is submitted it is up to the administrator to investigate and make a judgment.

One of the major ways to eliminate the perception of classroom racism is to ensure that all discipline referrals have no grey areas.

If the disciple referral has any grey areas Black parents and students could feel discriminated against. If teachers are not properly trained on how to write a discipline referral, Black parents and students will have a platform to file discrimination lawsuits.

For example, one of the major grey areas for discipline referrals is student fights. There is a major difference between a fight and an assault. In common law, assault is the act of creating apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with a person. An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability.

A fight is different than an assault in that a fight is when two people decide to assault each other. In a school setting, if two students decide to assault each other, then both students should receive the same consequence.

The mistake is made when the description of the fight that is submitted on a discipline referral is subjective and not objective. If the fight is between a well know discipline offender and a “good” student or if a boy and girl get into an altercation, the discipline referral is written in such a manner that it convicts one student while exonerating the other student. The bottom line is that if two students assault each other, it is a fight and both students should receive the same consequence. In that way no one can allege that either the administrator or teacher is racist.

In my experiences as an administrator I have seen this take place. Two students would get into a fight. The student who was known to be involved in other incidents is the assumed aggressor and the discipline referral is written as such. If the other student is considered a “good” student I have found that teachers, staff members and even administrators will attempt to come to their rescue. Even though both students assaulted each other, the culture of the school will attempt to force discrimination to prevail for some good.

In the above mentioned case, both students should receive the same consequence. We must take the subjective aspects out of school discipline and make school discipline objective by making discipline referrals objective.

Since teachers submit the majority of discipline referrals we must teach teachers to submit objective discipline referrals. The following process will enhance the discipline referral process for teachers.

  1. Write out everything that you can recall about the incident
  2. Write our how you felt as the incident unfolded
  3. Write out the behavior of each participant
  4. Submit a discipline referral for each participant which only includes statements regarding the behavior.

When teachers follow the above mentioned process, the grey areas the contribute to racism in education when teachers submit discipline referrals will become non-existent.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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About Classroom Racism Management Specialist

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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