Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why Are Schools Swift to ‘Label’ Minority Students?

September 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Thomas Theorem, created in 1928 by sociologists W.I. Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas states “If man define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. Labelling theory draws on this statement to suggest that if people are labeled as deviant, they will act in deviant ways. Deviant is defined as one who has unconventional behavior, has violated criminal law or has improper socialization. It is apparent that America uses vertical structures to label students within the school system, creating division and increasing likeliness of criminal involvement.

Within the walls of the classroom, labelling is done by teachers and administration who have been given social power within the structure to determine if a student should be evaluated for learning disabilities. These learning disabilities and disorders include ADHD, ADD, Autism as well as other learning disabilities which are based on the student’s behavior, attitude and socialization. These students deal with the frustration of their parents, rejection of family members and isolation from their peers within the school setting. Due to the lack of social support from family, church and school these students are more likely to engage in criminal activity as members of their community begin to see them as hopeless and destined for failure.

 In Seven Things Juvenile Courts Should Know About Learning Disabilities, Mallet states “Learning disabilities account for 26% of all special education disabilities for youth ages 12 to 17.7. African-Americans are 43% more likely to have a learning disability, Hispanics are 17% and American Indians are 80% more likely”. Socioeconomic status including poverty, poor education and family instability increase the likelihood of developing a learning disability. It is estimated that 28-43% of detained and incarcerated youthful offenders have an identified special education disability, a majority of these being learning disabilities.

Youth with learning disabilities are often referred to as troublemakers, thugs, reckless and criminals. The social forces within the media strategically put out images of minority youth fighting and committing criminal acts in order to cause social reactions of fear, terror and division in members of society. When we are concerned for our public safety, we create bias and disregard the effects society has on the individuals’ life chances.

America perpetuates labelling of students within the school system to create division and increase the likeliness of criminal involvement. I now realize the manifest (intended) function of social institutions such as the school system and the prison industrial complex, is maintaining social order (control) through labelling. This labelling affects one’s socioeconomic status by placing them inside of a box which they will not be able to escape.

How do you use labels to create division in your life?

Staff Writer; Dina Tuff

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2 Responses to “Why Are Schools Swift to ‘Label’ Minority Students?”
  1. Dina Tuff says:

    Family instability is certainly a leading contributor. The question then becomes what causes instability within families? When we turn off the talking news heads and beat the streets to talk to the people, you realize the village that used to assist in raising children are now structures rather than individuals who have an authentic concern for youth. The new village includes the media, judicial and health care systems. If we saw family as a community (tribe) as many nations in the past did, would we still be dealing with these “instabilities”?

  2. hoodgirl says:

    This Article is interesting! Could “family instability” be the leading contributor to “negative labeling” of students?

    Zig Ziglar’s books “See You At The TOP” and “Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World” should be beneficial to every family, parent, educator, stakeholder, etc.

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