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Teacher Fired After Dragging a Pre-Schooler: Is Racism Entrenched in Our Public Schools?



by G. Brown

First, know this story ends with the teacher being fired. But that still doesn’t really quell the anger that the teacher thought it okay to drag a preschooler down a school hallway. First thought is what could this child possibly have done…did she whip out a loaded gun and threaten to shoot the other kids?  Did she have a knife and stabbed a child?  What did she do that warranted this kind of treatment?

Someone at  Youngstown Ohio Head Start school took a picture the teacher as she dragged the young girl –who we guess is between  3 to 5  years old since she is in pre-school.   The Head Start program isn’t really releasing many details about the incident like what was the reason behind treating the little girl this way.  An administrator for the Alta Head Start, Joseph Shorokey, says the teacher’s “behavior is inexcusable and won’t be tolerated“.  And the district backed up its lip service with some quick action—firing the teacher as soon as the picture was brought to their attention.

The district sounds as if this teacher was an exception to the rule and says the majority of their teachers are “dedicated” and care for their students.  But one wayward teacher, police officer or any person in a position of authority can scar a child for life.  No word on whether the child suffered any physical injuries, but we know there will be psychological wounds that will be buried deep and for a lifetime inside her.

The district further distanced itself from the teacher saying she was not a reflection of  the Head Start’s program values.  But if the district has such a high standard of staff, then how did this woman get hired?  How long was she employed by district? Was her action racially motivated? And how many other children has she harmed under the pretense of helping?

The district did the right thing and quickly fired the teacher, but sadly, she’s not a lone wolf.  Atlanta Black Star‘s cover page features an article that probes whether White female teachers are the reason so many Black children are funneled into a pipeline that leads from school to prison. The article dismantles the notion that White males are alone in pushing the idea of White supremacy and shares the blame of that false ideology with White females.  The article quotes historian Melissa N. Stein who says, “White women were not simply passive victims whose image was invoked in lynching rhetoric.” They were consistent accomplices in the ritualistic lynchings of Black males, who were often tortured and killed for alleged transgressions against white women.” Stein sites the Emmett Till story as just one tragic example of her theory that White women are just as guilty as White men in orchestrating Black obedience.

The article  points out this theory is carried out in our schools with more Black children being graded as “under performing”, suspended and  categorized as special needs.  The article also quotes teacher and author Joseph Gibson who says, “The white female teacher tends to be very afraid of the Black male student, whether they’re explicitly afraid or there’s more of an unconscious fear…”

Gibson’s book is titled “The Monsters We Make: Unconscious Racism” and puts the blame on White educators and administrators who foster this idea that Blacks are more violent and not as smart.  So why did this unidentified teacher in Youngstown Ohio drag a child…because she works in a system that tells her subliminally ‘it’s ok…the child is only Black’.

What the child did really is irrelevant in this argument…whether she talked backed, left without permission or whatever; she was being punished perhaps for the color of her skin.

What do you think…should the teacher have been fired?  Does the child’s disruptive behavior (whatever it may have been) fall on the parents to discipline the child and prevent further disruptive behavior?  Are public schools ignoring the fact that the system is stacked against minorities no matter what color the teacher is?

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