By Amber Boyd
According to a report by the National Black Women's Justice Institute, African American girls are over seven times more likely than Caucasian girls to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions. Do you think your child is suffering from unjust disciplinary action? Be proactive and learn these five key pieces of information. Then take action if it's justified.
1. Know the Law
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act states that any institution receiving federal dollars must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex. In addition, the courts have highlighted that schools must discipline students in the same way. For example, if two white males are suspended for fighting, then two black males who fight must be suspended.
2. Talk to Your Child
Set aside your anger and disappointment and talk to your child about the incident. Ask your child who was present when the event occurred and what incidents or interactions may have led up to it. Find out whether anyone taped it. Your child is a wealth of knowledge. Don't take some else's story for face value…INVESTIGATE.
3. Talk to the School Administration
Talk to the administration as soon as your child is disciplined. Ask to meet with the school's principal, any officer who was present, and any other adult who saw the altercation. At the meeting, ask the administration why your child is being disciplined and the exact policy your child violated. Request that the administration provide the reason and rationale in writing.
4. Seek Recourse
If you find real evidence that your child is being treated unfairly, contact an attorney. If you are a resident of Indiana, contact the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Filing a claim could result in compensatory damages for you if the school acted intentionally.
5. Take Preventative Measures
We all know that children don't like telling teachers or administrators when someone is harassing them or treating them badly because they fear it will negatively impact their reputations. But it is your job as a parent to protect your child from harm and obtain a record. Contact the school's administration, inform them of the situation, and help them defuse it.
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