In a recent article, a local high level St. Paul government employee attempts to surmise that teacher student fights are more prominent in the suburbs when compared to city schools. The reality is that events reported in the city become more publicized when compared to the suburbs. Teacher student fights are the product of a school environment that is opposed to those students who have a different cultural backgrounds of their teachers.

According to the article, Student-on-staff violence cases escalate in suburban Ramsey County, but not in mainstream settings, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi believes that there are more teacher student fights in the suburban schools when compared with the St. Paul schools. The article specifically reveals that out of 28 fourth degree assault cases, almost 50 percent have occurred in the suburbs. The report reveals that teacher student fights are not a geographical problem. Instead they are a teacher student relationship problem.

What factors contribute to teacher student fights? 

One factor that contributes to teacher student fights is teacher-student racial differences. Teacher-student conflicts result from a difference in desires, and even though this difference may be reduced, it remains in schools. The differences in cultural background impacts the attitudes, beliefs, and values about education, about how classes should to be conducted, and the appropriate interactions for teachers and students. The classroom conflict between teachers and students results from the different cultural contexts that students and teachers bring to the classroom.

Another factor that contributes to teacher student fights is the cultural mismatch between students and the school. Student academic achievement decreases when the difference between the student’s culture and the school culture increases and the classroom environment does not value the student’s home culture.

​Schools encompass cultural expectations that present challenges for Black students. Schools and Black student conflict result from expectation differences. Teachers who are culturally different from their students have a greater challenge creating a trusting environment when cultural diversity and race factors are not put on the table by the school and students perceive these factors as important to their identity and school success.

​Many school social codes are unfamiliar and opposed to culturally diverse student home codes. Blacks have difficulty with school instructional concepts and ideas that are absent in their community, culture, or economic environment that ignore or misrepresent their present condition. School instructional procedures include cultural values, orientations, and perceptions that differ from those of Black students.

Most elementary and secondary school curricula appear to present an advantage to white middle-class children.  Public schools continue to have culturally based philosophies and curricula that focus on White European and Judeo-Christian values.

Teacher discrimination is a contributor to teacher student fights. Teachers discriminate against students by stereotyping according to ethnicity. White teachers may have difficulty in understanding minorities due to the teachers’ rejection of the students’ lifestyles. Schools have a bias against students who do not share the same characteristics as White, female, middle-class teachers.

  • Teachers are more likely to have negative academic and behavioral expectations regarding Black students when compared to expectations of White students.
  • White teachers have more negative attitudes toward Black children and rate Black students more negatively when compared to White students.
  • White teachers rate Black male children more deviant when compared to White children.
  • White teachers direct more criticism toward Black males and rate Black male children personalities more negatively when compared to White male children.
  • White teachers perceive White students more positively when compared to Black students.

European American teachers favor other students rather than Black students. European Americans have favorable attitudes toward Mexican Americans when compared to Blacks and are more likely to accept Mexican Americans when compared to Blacks due to Mexican Americans having a closer skin color to European Americans.

While there are many other factors that contribute to the growing quantity of teacher student fights, it is evident that the only way to meet the new Every Student Succeeds Act discipline requirements is to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. www.positiveracialrelationships.com PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

 

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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