Jamal Washington, age twelve, was gunned to death at school this afternoon by his American History teacher Ms. Samantha Pettigrew, age 39 from Topeka, Kansas, after the honor roll student walked out of class in protest to the “Why Slavery Helped Black People” assignment.

Aalia Farroq, age 16, was shot three times in the back and chest with a 9mm handgun by her Physical Education teacher and Head Football Coach, Mr. Brick Stevens, age 45, after he suspected the gifted student and rising Valedictorian was concealing a weapon in her hijab.

Javier González was shot the morning before his 18th birthday by homeroom teacher, Ms. Barbara Whitmore, age 62, after the college bound student spoke out about his teacher’s anti-immigration and racist comments during their Politics and Government class.

This is what the headlines will read like should Trump and his automaton Congress approve legislation for teachers to be armed with guns in the classroom.

In the weeks following the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, television stations, newspapers, print publications and social media sites were rife with detailed accounts of the horrific event. Compounded with disheartening images of teary-eyed parents of the slain students and the striking photographs of thousands of Maryland high school students storming the Capitol demanding stronger gun regulations, it seemed the entire country was crying out for a sustainable and immediate solution to quell the widespread gun violence crisis. Yet, despite the glaringly obvious solution to this systemic malaise, Trump, backed by his White male Republican brigade, offered the most myopic, surface-level and antithetical solution to this ongoing dilemma. The proverbial stick and carrot proposal to provide salary incentives (i.e. bonuses) to proficiently trained armed educators as a method to 1) “reduce” or “lessen” the probability of school shootings by students and 2) allow teachers to protect their classrooms is not only thoughtless, but opens the floodgates for racist teachers, school-based administrators and paraprofessionals to have the green light to exercise their trigger happy White-nationalist rage onto African-American/Black, Latino and Muslim students. Although U.S. policy makers, media producers and “politically correct” spokespersons have worked tirelessly to veil the entrenched racism that flourishes in this country, it’s no secret at all that non-White students, especially African-American students, are routinely subjected to school-based racially discriminatory acts, far more than their White counterparts. Allow me to illustrate the evidence of this reality:

Statistics

  • While 16 percent of students in American schools are Black-identified, 27 percent of Black students have been referred to law enforcement by their schools and 31 percent of African-American/Black students have been arrested for school-based offenses
  • 18 percent of preschool enrollment accounts for Black-identified students, yet 48 percent of preschool students receive more than one out-of-school suspension, primarily for behavioral concerns. Whiteidentified preschool students represent 43 percent of the population, however only receive 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions more than once
  • Black students are expelled or suspended three times higher than White students who only account for 5 percent of annual suspensions
  • Black/African-American girls are suspended from school 12 percent higher than other female students across ethnicities1
  • In 2011-2012, 80 percent of public school principals were identified as White, 10 percent were identified as Black, 7 percent were identified as Hispanic and 3 percent were identified a Other; 82 percent of teachers were identified as White in elementary and secondary schools2

Racist Incidents in Schools

  • In March 2018, Florida middle school teacher Dayanna Volitich was removed from the school after authorities discovered her anti-Muslim and White nationalist podcast called “Unapologetic” 3
  • Duval County Math teacher, David Swinyar, was suspended for a total of 10 days following reports of his usage of the “n-word” during classes to his students. Nearly 25 of the students in his class reported Swinyar saying, “If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means that he’s acting like a n****r.” “You all should not be dating all these different African Americans [sic] boys because they are not worth it.” The students also mentioned that Swinyar “loves to talk about politics and Donald Trump.”4
  • In October 2017, a White school safety police officer at Rawlinson Middle School in San Antonio, Texas body slammed a Black male student, but allowed the White male student to walk away freely after “breaking-up” a fight between the two students
  • In 2016, 12 year-old student, Janissa Valdez was slammed to the ground by school-based officer at Rhodes Middle School in San Antonio, Texas when he assumed a fight was going to occur5
  • The ACLU filed letters to the Department of Education and the Department of Justice for numerous anti-Muslim discriminatory acts
    occurring in schools6:

    • Ms. Myles, a teacher at the Academy of Excellence public charter school in Arizona a) physically choked a Somali Muslim student because he would not stop talking with his classmates during “downtime,” while other students were allowed to talk, b) prohibited the Somali Muslim student from praying during
      recess, c) said to the student during class, “I can’t wait until Trump is elected. He’s going to deport all you Muslims. Muslims shouldn’t be given visas. They’ll probably take away your visa and deport you. You’re going to be the next terrorist, I bet.” and d) showed a video of the events of 9/11 to the class and
      said to the student, “that’s going to be you,” insinuating that he would become a terrorist.
    • After learning that student Sumaya Ali was a Muslim, a World History high school teacher in Lawndale, California a) said to her, “Oh you’re a terrorist. That’s not what I think, that’s what American thinks,” and b) asked the class, “Who thinks all Muslims should die?”
    • In Gwinnet County, Georgia, a teacher “jokingly” asked a Muslim student [who wears a hijab] if she had a bomb in her backpack
  • In February 2018, Bronx middle school principal, Patricia Catania, underwent investigations by the New York Department of Education for inciting both a racially intimidating climate in the school towards staff and students of color and obstructing Black History Month activities and lessons within the 95 percent Black and Latinix school7

The naive question that continues to emerge from many people’s mouths regarding the pervasiveness of racist occurrences in schools, like those previously described is “why does this continue to happen to Black and Brown children?” The two-fold answer to this question is quite clear: 1) Black and brown skin has been and is habitually criminalized and pathologized by a multilevel socio-systemic regime that devises initiatives to enact legalized genocide towards non-White people daily. 2) White people
are protected by the very multilevel socio-systemic oppressive system that was designed [by their White, male ancestors] to subjugate non-Christian, people of color politically, economically, educationally and socially.

The fears, deeply embedded racist belief systems, microagressions and White, patriarchal nationalist viewpoints held by many school-based administrators and teachers is the [intentional] result of organized evangelical ideological racism filtered through visual media images, Judeo-Christian arrogance and the business of news media, which standardizes the narrative of black women, men and children as thugs, drug dealers, as well as addicts and violent animals, Latino women, men and children as gang members and illegal immigrants and Muslim women, men and children as fundamentalist terrorists. Translation: a threat to White, Western identity and comfortability.

Hence, it is not an anomaly that these racist incidents occur frequently within the American school system. Compounded with the facts that a) the North American tri-dimensional political and economic structure thrives off of free market capitalism, with one of its largest contributors being the billion dollar profits from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and b) an overwhelming percentage of the public school-based staff is White-identified and consequently, in no way reflects the racial, cultural and experiential realities of the student population, it is quite apparent why Donald Trump would push his smoke and mirrors legislation to arm educators as a maneuver to silence the outcry for gun regulation erupting across the nation. You see, placing guns into the hands of teachers – the majority of whom are White –raised in a system of White Supremacy completely fits his “Make America Great Again” campaign, where any student who isn’t White, male and Christian are literally black and brown sheep for slaughter.

The issue isn’t merely about gun regulations to protect students from recurring mass school shootings. Rather, it is about seeing through the veneer of the American political economic structure, which was not only founded on structural racism, but continues to make an exorbitant profit from the collection of dead Black and Brown bodies, [think Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Flint, Oakland, Denver, Nevada8, the prison industrial system,] especially the bodies of Black, Latino and Muslim children who no longer pose a danger to the White American Dream.

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https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/schools-discrimination_n_5002954.html
https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/highered/racial-diversity/state-racial-diversity-workforce.pdf
3 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dayanna-volitich-florida-teacher-removed-from-classroom-over-racistpodcast- tiana-dalichov/
4https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5aa051cde4b002df2c6064fb/amp?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000051&__twi tter_impression=true
https://rollingout.com/2017/10/06/school-cop-body-slams-black-child-during-fight-leaves-white-child-alone/
https://medium.com/aclu/teacher-to-muslim-refugee-student-i-cant-wait-until-donald-trump-deports-all-youmuslims- 365ee45a2282
https://www.theroot.com/department-of-education-investigating-principal-who-bar-1822921670
https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/10/us/native-lives-matter/index.html