Brenda Townsend Walker, a professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, has conducted a study on the rates of school suspensions and juvenile arrests for African American males. She found that African American males were far more likely than their White peers to be singled out for school infractions. In addition, for those who were punished, Black males typically received harsher punishments than their White classmates.
Professor Townsend Walker believes that a major factor in the racial disparity is that “teachers are placed in urban classrooms with little understanding of African American males living in poverty.” Under such conditions, she argues, “It is inevitable that misunderstandings will occur.” She concludes that teacher educators must explicitly prepare school personnel to understand and address the complex factors that shuttle African American males from schools and into juvenile justice and adult correctional systems.
The study, “Teacher Education and African American Males: Deconstructing Pathways From the Schoolhouse to the ‘Big House,'” was published by The Journal of Teacher Education. The article may be accessed here.