How can teachers minimize classroom fights?

In a recent article, a Texas teacher has been arrested for her involvement in a classroom fight. It looks like the teacher is the perpetrator of the classroom battle which continues to fuel much controversy in our schools. Teachers must ensure that their responses to objectionable students does not result in criminal charges for the teacher which are the result of a classroom fight between the teacher and student.

According to the article, Texas Teacher Arrested After Video Show Her Slapping Student: Police, a Texas teacher was arrested for slapping a student during an instructional period. Mary Hastings who is a teacher at Ozen High School in Beaumont Texas has been arrested for slapping a student five times. After slapping the student, she called the student an “idiot ass”, according to the article. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported that the teacher was arrested on one charge of assault and released on bail. Sources have reported that the teacher responded in this manner to ensure that another student’s progress towards graduation was not stifled.

Could the teacher induced classroom fight be a result of the laws governing teachers in Texas?

In Texas, the teacher is considered a public servant. According to Texas Penal Code §12.32 assaulting a public servant results in the following:

This type of legislation can provide teachers with power that is beyond their authority. This circumstance could have been avoided if there was a balance between the expectations for teachers and students.

The teacher was arrested for assault. A simple assault in Texas includes:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
  • Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury, or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.

A person convicted of a misdemeanor in Texas faces the following possible penalties:

  • Class A misdemeanor – up to one year in jail or a fine up to $4000, or both
  • Class B misdemeanor – up to 180 days in jail or a fine up to $2000, or both, and
  • Class C misdemeanor – a fine up to $500.

(Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 12.21, 12.22, 12.23).

A person convicted of a third degree felony can be sentenced to two to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.34). The teacher will probably receive a penalty consistent with a Class C misdemeanor. We know that if the tables were turned, the consequences for the student would have been much harsher.

Teachers must understand that classroom disruptions are a product of the conflict between the student and the teacher which can cause classroom fights. The number one reason for classroom disruptions is talking. Not every behavior of a Black student should be classified as a classroom disruption.

Black students have classroom talking behaviors that result from interest in the instructional process. Black students are inclined to talk back when motivated by what a teacher says. Black students may become so impressed with the speaker, such as a teacher, that the students want to hear what the teacher says again due to an interest not in what was said but how it was said. Furthermore, Black students want to create the appropriate mood and setting before beginning to work on a task by asking the teacher to repeat the directions.

Many teachers do not expect Black students to interrupt the class by talking to their neighbors and speak without raising their hands. Educators assume quiet students are successful and receive rewards for making teaching an easier task. Black students will continue to carry their own culture into the classroom, and they will continue to misunderstand their middle-class teacher as profoundly as she or he misunderstands them.

Teachers respond to students talking in the classroom without permission by ordering, reprimanding, involving students in work, and naming the student. Some teachers may exhibit unprofessional behavior when students talk in the classroom without permission. When a teacher yells, uses harsh words, shames, degrades, or embarrasses a student, such behavior influences all students. Teachers can avoid classroom fights by becoming culturally aware of the verbal and non-verbal habits of their students.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

www.positiveracialrelationships.com

PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

 

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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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