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One Strike and They're out - Article Review

Essay by   •  April 13, 2011  •  Article Review  •  1,183 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,955 Views

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In the New York Times Article "One Strike and They're Out" the author explains how schools are currently over enforcing the "zero tolerance" rule and suspending students that are predominantly African-American for non threatening behavior. Over the years there has been a significant increase in the amount of suspensions on minorities. Inadequate records for the nature and frequency of these suspensions by the government and the school board, has caused me to question the entire system of discipline in public schools. This article has increased my awareness of the suspicious disproportionate amounts of suspended minorities compared to whites. After reading this article I believe that schools should be required to take detailed records of student suspensions; especially in urban areas. Also I believe other methods should be utilized to improve student behavior than just suspending them for reasons that wouldn't get a white student suspended in a predominantly white school. This article for me has caused me to have deep concern about the educational future of inner city youth when they're in a circumstance where "they can't sneeze without being suspended." Mediated communication is: any communication that is transmitted by some kind of mechanistic means such as radio, television, telephone or the internet (Seiler 26). The federal government and the school board have failed to utilize all these means of mediated communication to explain exactly why inner city youth are being suspended in such high amounts. The school system has also failed to properly document student suspensions which may be altering the public as well as my interpretation of what seems to be an academic disciplinary failure in the urban school system. The fact that "students who may have been thrown out 10 times were counted as having been suspended only once" is extremely frightening, because reality may be much worse than the records show. The high rates of suspension in these urban schools make me wonder who is to blame the teachers, the parents, the students, or the environment set for the students itself. The environment encompasses the attitudes, feelings, perceptions, and relationships of the communicators as well as the characteristics of the location in which music takes place (23). Noisy and disruptive environments tend to stress out instructors and students who want to learn. Because of the high stress levels in the classrooms instructors may overreact to small disruptions due to stress and may suspend a non deserving student. One must also consider the fact that a student's peer may be purposefully distracting them which may cause them to get into an altercation that will result in a suspension. How can the school environment be improved in the inner-cities of America? In the beginning of each semester I believe teachers should record the names of disruptive students and put them in a stricter environment. Positive reinforcement and incentives are very effective and if this can improve the school environment, I believe that it is worth it. The report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that in 2006 "30 percent of black male middle school students in 15 urban districts were suspended from school" is a statistic that is suspicious in the demographical aspect. How can it be that almost a third of black men in urban districts are demonstrating behavior that results in suspension? Assaults, bringing weapons and drugs to school are things that should result in suspension. I don't believe that 30 percent of black males in these urban districts are doing these activities. I believe teachers and administration in schools do not know how to deal with



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