America’s got blood on its hands when it chooses to not address trauma in its misguided youth. .
I recall doing a pop-up visit at my son’s school some years ago. Walking up the corridor I could hear what I thought was the gym and a group of children very loud and running around.
It was my son’s 6th grade classroom, not a gym but his homeroom. Approaching the door I prayed silently, please let my son be doing his work. A pop-up visit, he would not be expecting me to walk through the door. Sure enough it was my son, along with several other youth. The teacher stood at the front of the class continuing her lesson plan with the ten students who were trying to focus. My son was scared stiff when he saw me. You would think my son was my biggest concern, but I was more concerned with how the teacher overlooked such behavior. No phone calls, no notes home, just a drop in grades that prompted my pop-up visit.
The teacher’s response to my disbelief was, “well, this is typical preteen boy behavior and I have to ignore it sometimes.” WTH? Typical? To who? Her response was that she understands that urban young men go through blah,blah,blah and it’s only normal that they act out in school. Studies show….
Hold Up! Let me cut you off right there. There is nothing typical about this behavior and not addressing it won’t help my son move forward in life as a productive adult.
These are the thoughts many teachers have about “urban children”. There is a big problem with how behavior is addressed in our schools. The outcomes vary depending in the child and schools they attend. Research shows, blah blah blah!
Children need to be corrected and misguided behavior needs to be addressed. The fact is most African-American boys end up in prison when we don’t see value in addressing this behavior. The teacher, young and only teaching for three years, was offended that I questioned how she addressed his behavior. We had communicated by phone several times about his grade and all she could say was he just wasn’t focused. When I asked that he be removed from her class she was disheartened by it.
Nope, if this is your take on my son’s life you should not teach him. They did not remove him but the Dean of Students became a classroom support person. He would pull in every chance he got and eventually the teacher was replaced.
I wonder just where she is teaching now and if she still believes it’s okay for children to act that way?
For Brown and Black boys it’s a ticket to jail, a gang, or an early grave when we allow them to act out. My son during this time was also going through some major life issues. His grandmother died, his father was absent, and my husband became incarcerated. I still chose to address his behavior and even had our family in counseling.
Not addressing my son’s responses to these issues could easily be an issue for him for years to come. I kept my son around men who were leaders. I connected him to male role models and gave him space to talk about whatever was bothering him. We had some hard conversations and it became real.
Was he a perfect son? No! But he can and will tell you that had it not been for our decisions to address issues and keeping him around people he could share with, he would not be a great adult today. I didn’t care who he talked to as long as they were going to lead him down a constructive path.
We can’t walk around thinking that not addressing misguided behavior will result in happy endings. It never does. It’s like putting a bandage on a wound that is seeping pus and expecting it will heal. It will only infect other areas.
Addressing trauma is real and requires a good gameplan. What that plan is may look different for each child but not addressing it will end with tragedy.