Anja B. New Jersey

Racial Punishment Inequality

This is an article about how students of different race get punished worse than white students in school.

Dear President,

If you imagine a world where punishments in schools are determined by race and gender, then you’re not imagining. You’re seeing what’s going on around you. Punishments in school shouldn’t be determined by race and gender.

There are different problems with student equality, but I am focusing more on unequal punishment by race in school. Of course gender also plays a role in equal treatment of students, but I am focused more on the racial aspect of student equality. Recent studies show that students of ethnic, hispanic, and race backgrounds get punished more severely and more often than white students. There are slightly more problems racially than gender wise.

According to even though ethnic, hispanic, and race students get punished worse than white students, race students punishments are typically the worst. Lots of people believe that this is because students of color are more likely to do bad things, but the percentage of those students that do bad things is truly very small. Studies have shown that this population tends to get punished the most, and the worst. Some of these students speak differently, and the way that they speak can sometimes be taken the wrong way which can get them in trouble. wrote “Upon his arrival, the Black male student met the teacher at the door and said, “Man I was just fixin’ to bounce on you.” To the students bewilderment, the teacher wrote him up to be suspended. The teacher (mis)interpreted the phrase, “fixin’ to bounce on you,” as a threat of physical violence, when from the student’s perspective he was noting the teacher’s tardiness and jokingly saying that he was just about to leave to classroom.”

In some cases, money might play a role in how students get punished. Families with more money tend to go to better schools that may not have racial disparity. Students may get treated differently because their family has more or less money. If you have more money, your family typically lives in a better area with a better school.

Some may argue that this isn’t a problem in the entire U.S.A., so we shouldn’t bother the future president with this. It doesn’t matter that this isn’t a problem everywhere in the U.S.A.. The fact that this is a problem in more than one school is a problem. “Injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.”- MLKing. It’s not like this isn’t a problem in more than 100’s of schools in the U.S.A.

If we let unequal punishment based upon race continue to happen, the future will turn into the past. We will have separate schools for different races. We will have girls with less opportunities. Do we want our future, that we have worked so hard to create, become our past?


Anja B.

Brielle Elementary

Eighth Grade Citizens

The students in the eighth grade who wished to post their letters are featured here. Students worked for several weeks in both Social Studies and Language Arts classes, crafting their arguments. They participated in Penpal Schools Decision 2016 as well as Media Literacy Week.

All letters from this group →