Recently, I saw a mother post on Facebook about how her son’s school called the cops on her child. In the post, the mother details how her son is playing with a toy gun during one of his online learning classes. As the mother described it, the gun was neon green and orange. Now, unless it is a Warner Brothers cartoon, I do not think any real guns are neon green and orange. The teacher saw the scholar playing with the gun and decided to inform the principal. The principal decided to call and inform the mom the police had been called and were on the way.
Thankfully the situation did not turn out horribly, but let’s talk about the actions of the principal.
I currently serve as a principal of an elementary school. At no point in my four years have I ever thought to call the police on my students. Instead of calling the police, the principal should have called the mom to inform the mom that her son was playing with a toy gun instead of paying attention in class. And even before that, the teacher could have told the young man to put the gun down and pay attention before involving the principal.
[pullquote]The school failed the child and the parent by calling the police like he was a warranted criminal.[/pullquote] The school suspended the child for five days and threatened to press charges but instead wanted to use this as a lesson. The only lesson this school taught this child is that school is no different than the racist country that sees him as a threat. Now, the lesson this boy will leave with is his teacher, principal, and school sees him as a threat.
Like the story of Tamir Rice, a Black boy plays with a toy gun and the police get called. But when a 17-year-old in Wisconsin can roam the streets and threaten people, where was the quick police response that showed up to Cleveland and killed Tamir Rice within seconds? Where were the police in Wisconsin when two innocent protestors were murdered? History, and present, tells us that [pullquote position="right"]we should be more afraid of the white kid playing with a toy gun than the Black kid.[/pullquote]
You want to know the problem with education and specifically the problem with education for Black children. How can a Black child thrive in this Eurocentric education system when the system sees a Black child as a threat? Black children get criminalized in the streets, in the school, and now in the virtual setting. As an educator, I am challenging all educators who care about Black children’s well-being that we must not stand any longer for schools or school leaders who do not see Black children for who they are.
Check out this conversation between this student's mother, Dani Elliot, and Tracey Wiley on Citizen Ed!
David McGuire serves as principal of Tindley Summit Academy located in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has served as the principal for the past five years. David has taught high school and middle school in Indianapolis, in both the charter and traditional district settings. He is currently a fellow of the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute. David is a graduate of the Relay National Principal Academy, a 2017 Teach Plus Policy Fellow, and a 2017 Teach Plus Alumni Board Fellow. He completed the Indianapolis Urban League Young Professionals fellows’ program. He currently moderates for the Indiana e-Learning lab, where he focuses on parent and community engagement. David holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Central State University, a master’s in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan, and building-level administration from Marian University. He is currently a doctoral student of education in organizational leadership at Marian University.
Your donation will support the work we do at brightbeam to shine a light on the voices who challenge decision makers to provide the learning opportunities all children need to thrive.