In recent turn of events, the lack of classroom management techniques could be the main contributor to the Jaylen Freyberg shooting. Local Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary has reported that all targeted shooting victims where invited to have lunch with the shooter. All but one student accepted the invitation. The lone student who refused the invitation did so because decided to attend a 5th period class.

Most schools have classroom management procedures that include taking student attendance which is a procedure that identifies any students who are cutting class. The process normally creates consequences for students who are chronically absent from class. Students who attend class regularly will normally go undetected and in most cases, teachers are not as stringent on students who do well in the class. Students who do well in classes are normally allowed to attend other classes that provide academic enrichment. This makes classroom management tasks of taking attendance difficult for teachers to filter out problematic students.

What is interesting about the Jaylen Fryberg shooting is the comfort that the shooting victims exhibited with accepting the invitation. Some of the questions that are left unanswered include:

  • Where the students cutting class?
  • If these students were cutting class, how did they gain entrance into the lunchroom with such ease?

Finally, is the process, for entering the lunchroom to lax that it allows almost any student who wants to be absent from class to cut class in the lunch room? For high school students it is quite easy.

In most elementary and middle schools, the teacher escorts students to the lunchroom and picks them up at the end of the period. They also sit at assigned tables. High schools are very different. Since we are preparing students for mobility and responsibility after high school once they are released from class it is their responsibility to get to the next class in a timely fashion.

One solution for avoiding the Fryberg shooting could be that high school teachers become responsible for delivering students to the lunchroom and their next classroom teacher picking them up from the cafeteria. If they take that route, then there will difficulty with scheduling students to be able to intermix according to academic needs. This solution will create challenges for teachers. Teachers will no longer have the freedoms of the past associated with the elimination of lunch duties and ultimately impact their prep time. An interference with prep time could be a violation of their union contract which can cause additional school problems.

As much as most people do not want racism identified as the problem, the school will have to fix the root of the problem with the Jaylen Freyberg shooting. It was reported by Marysville freshman Jordan Luton that racist comments had been made to Jaylen about his race. Jordan said Jaylen, a Native American, had gotten into a fight with a classmate two weeks before the shooting after the student lobbed a racist comment at Jaylen.

It looks like Fryberg was an outstanding American Indian who loved his heritage. He was from the prominent Talalip Tribe and was a central leader for the generations to come. The racial attack was probably not handled to his satisfaction and he flipped off on his closest associates who probably did not agree with him and wanted him to continue in a school culture that he now vehemently disagreed with.

He could have equated himself as the token American Indian because of his recent accomplishments. It is almost the equivalent of what was once known as the token nigger.

I also wonder how the curriculum contributed to the Jaylen Fryberg shooting. In US history and US history classroom classes the positive contributions of the American Indian are limited and tainted. The curriculum is absent of the slaughter that the American Indian had to endure. Now that they are officially relegated to one of the smallest minorities, the curriculum could have been a major contributor to the Jaylen Fryberg shooting.

This why we must use a classroom management process that deals with the perpetual tradition of classroom racism (Pertcrism). Schools can no longer turn their heads the other way when it comes to classroom racism (cloomism). Not only is it detrimental to the minority community but it is now detrimental to the White community as evidenced by the outcome of the Jaylen Fryberg shooting.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
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