How should teachers respond to the Colin Kaepernick incident?

In a recent article, a student who was more than likely influenced by the Colin Kaepernick incident, has accused a teacher of physically removing him from his seat for not participating in the pledge of allegiance. There are laws that protect student rights in the area of participating in the pledge of allegiance. Teachers who believe that a student who desires to exhibit behavior consistent with the Colin Kaepernick incident must refrain from physical or verbal harassment.

According to the article, IL Teacher Punishes Student For Refusal to Stand for Pledge, a teacher at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois is under investigation for accusations that she not only attempted to force 15-year-old sophomore Shemar Cooper to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance, but physically forced him out of his seat against his will before punishing him in front of his peers.

The youth’s mother attempted to resolve the issue with the school until she found that the school administrators attempted to shame the student by saying he disrespects the military for exercising his right to abstain from acts of patriotism. In addition to the harassment, Cooper was sent to the office to face punishment for exercising his constitutional right. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact the superintendent, the youth’s mother has filed a complaint with the local police who may file charges against the teachers.

What are the possible consequences for the way that the teacher responded to the student who may have been influenced by the Colin Kaepernick incident

The possible consequences for the teacher could result in either criminal or civil liability. If the teacher physically removed the student from his seat then she could be convicted of physical assault. In particular this action by the teacher could result in a charge of battery.

Although the statutes for defining battery vary by jurisdiction, a typical definition for battery is the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent. Under this general definition, a battery offense requires all of the following:

  • intentional touching
  • the touching must be harmful or offensive
  • no consent from the victim

The next consequence for the teacher is civil litigation. A civil lawsuit is any lawsuit filed  in an attempt to legally recover monetary damages or to have a specific action from a legal contract upheld in a civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuits are different from criminal proceedings in that civil proceedings are used when someone has been damaged by another’s actions or a product and seeks money, rather than criminal prosecution.

Since teachers are required to protect the rights of all students, even though they might not agree with the Colin Kaepernick incident,  they must also ensure that they are not sued for negligence. Negligence is a concept of common law connoting legal fault whereby on party breaches a legal duty and becomes liable to a second party for an injury directly attributable to the unintentional conduct of the first party. Negligent conduct in its simplest definition is that conduct in which a reasonable careful person would not engage. Negligence may involve doing something that reasonably prudent person would not do under the circumstances or not doing something that a reasonable prudent person would do under the circumstances. It is reasonable to protect the rights of their students.

Teachers who decide to protect the rights of their Black students also eliminate many of the negative perceptions that Black students hold. Many Black adolescents believe school is a hostile place and teachers are oppression agents. They also believe that White teachers symbolize the racism Black students have endured throughout their entire lives.

Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Students also do better in school when they believe getting a good education will increase their chances for success. Teachers should take the Colin Kaepernick incident as an opportunity to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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Chip Kelly: Kaepernick protest a ‘different deal’ than Riley Cooper situation

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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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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